Stories for December 2009

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Thursday, December 31

Gubernatorial hopefuls visit Payson

Three challengers to Jan Brewer’s reign as governor were entertained by area Republicans this week.

Register youth for Payson programs

Now that the town-sponsored fifth and sixth grade basketball program is up and running, sports coordinator Joe Harris is turning his attention to other youth programs including the third and fourth grade hoop league.

Chiefs promoting new life-saving device: ICE

The Northern Gila County Fire Chiefs want to turn your cell phone into a potentially life-saving device. They are asking all residents to establish an emergency contact that can be reached by paramedics and other emergency personnel during an emergency.

Best of times Worst of times

Whew. What a year. Droughts, flames, hungry children, foreclosed homes, shriveling economies, lingering wars, mounting unemployment, an imploding state budget. Terrible times — especially for those who have lost their jobs, their homes, their hope.

Smarter e-mailing a perfect New Year’s resolution

So it’s time to make the infamous New Year’s resolutions ... the promises that we publicly announce and privately break. Some of us vow to exercise every day, some of us promise to read all of the selections for book club (and not use the online cheat-sheets), and others resolve to cut out fast food entirely. Until around mid February the plan works nicely. But then, before we know it, we are using our workout time to surf the Web for “A Tale of Two Cities” summary while chomping on an extra value meal from McDonald’s. It happens to all of us.

Pipeline delivers dilemmas

Developments closest to pipeline could claim most of the Blue Ridge water

Ready or not — the future has come knocking for a string of small communities along the East Verde River.

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Hopefully ‘Come and Go’ is here to stay

With Christmas over, Santa’s (aka Rod’s) workshop closed, and the pressure off, it was high time to relax, kick back and party a bit. So, it was off to Irma and Alex Armenta’s Saturday-After Come and Go Party.

Elkhart example true for nearly every county in America

(Note: The Elkhart Truth in northern Indiana recently did a series on how meth affects a community especially in tough economic times. This particular series is part of the MSNBC Elkhart Project, which focuses on how a small Midwestern town is surviving current economic conditions. While much of the information in this article was gleaned from the series, incidents and circumstances described could happen anywhere in the U.S.)

Bragging about roaring wildfires

Once upon a time, forest managers would have been scared stiff by a year in which 21,000 acres of trees went up in flames.

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Food drive passes halfway point

The Payson Area Food Drive Committee hailed it as a Christmas miracle: Not only did the food banks have enough food to make it through the holidays, thanks to munificent donations from the community, but the loveable squirrel logo pasted across stickers, buttons and boxes came to life Tuesday night, thanks to the creativity and generosity of one teen.

Tons of new music talent in 2009

As my daddy used to tell me, “Son, life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

Hope for New Year is sporting success at PHS

If there were a 2009 sports story that bewildered, confused and baffled readers it was the departure of three Payson High School head coaches and the resulting demise of the Longhorn football program.

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Payson son has challenge, rewards with ROTC

A guide to the University of North Dakota’s ROTC Helicopter Flight Training Program tells candidates to be successful, “you need the strength to lead, the composure to keep cool under pressure and the overwhelming desire to succeed.”

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Quail, archery deer hunts offer good exercise

New Year’s Day is a time for college football, food and friends, as the holiday season begins to wind down. This time of year always seems to add a few pounds, with all the great food and desserts that are so easy to reach at a timeout or during a television commercial. Consequently, those New Year’s resolutions made usually include some kind of exercise program for the coming year.

Quiet week in Pine and Strawberry

It’s a rather slow news week in Pine and Strawberry. I guess everyone is recovering from Christmas and scratching their heads wondering how it is that we are already in 2010! Even the Christmas break seemed shorter than usual this year.

Federal health care plan financially devastating to Arizona

“As the decade began, Arizona voters enacted an initiative (Proposition 204) to expand low income health care coverage through Medicaid (AHCCCS) in the state. Voters were led to believe that this state expansion would be covered with funding from the nationwide tobacco lawsuit settlement. In other words, they were told that tobacco companies would pay for it — not Arizona taxpayers.

Permanent repeal of death tax is the best policy

For one year only, Americans won’t get taxed after they die.

Don’t ever say to me, ‘Where there’s smoke there’s fire’

One thing that never fails to amaze me is that I was once the target of a communist conspiracy. That’s what I said, a communist conspiracy. Me personally! And my drill instructor partner, Hondo.

Longhorn basketball teams to entertain Holbrook Roadrunners at home Jan. 2

Both Payson High School basketball teams have the opportunity to test their mettle against the hoop-crazed North region in make-up games vs. Holbrook tomorrow, Jan. 2 in Wilson Dome.

Firefighters help stranded motorists

Happy New Year to all of my readers. Here’s hoping that 2010 will be a banner year for all of us.

No road carnage this time around

Unlike the Dec. 22 storm that dropped a foot of snow in some parts of the Rim Country, clogging roadways and stranding motorists for miles along Highway 260, this week’s storm proved more of a washout than a whiteout.

Believing ‘because they matter’

Another year has come and gone. There were days we thought would never end, and days we looked up and said, “Where does time go?” There were days when we’d look around and say, “I give up,” only to turn around and keep going.

What should you do with retirement funds after a layoff?

As you’re no doubt aware, the long and deep recession has resulted in the highest unemployment rate in decades.

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When filling tires, skip the air

The next time you fill up your tires, consider using nitrogen, the switch may increase the life of your tires and lower the number of top offs, one tire and lube owner says.

Community Almanac

Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church, 507 W. Wade Lane, will celebrate the New Year with a New Year’s Eve service at 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 31. The theme will be “What’s in a name?” and Holy Communion will be served. The community is invited to join in the celebration. For more information, call (928) 474-5440.

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Christopher Creek namesake attended his own funeral

Dwight Joy reached for another log and placed it carefully on the small fire. My young heart stirred with anticipation — another log meant another story, and I loved Dwight’s stories. We listened through the darkness, my father and I.

Wednesday, December 30

San Diego — a star in the West

Almost everyone in our part of the world has some familiarity with the great city of San Diego. In the 1990s I had the pleasure of living in La Jolla, a suburb, and enjoyed the entire area to the fullest.

Is breast lump cancer?

I am 20 and need your help. I felt a lump in my right breast. I told a friend about this, and she said breast cancer never happens to anyone my age. If that’s the case, I am relieved. If it’s not the case, what should I do? How can you tell a cancer lump from one that isn’t cancer?

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Rebuilding history

Father, son share passion for trains and towns of Colorado

Scot Proudfoot stares intently at an Alpine hillside – does it have enough trees, grass and dirt to replicate the real thing he wonders? He delicately moves a few things and with the flip of a tiny switch, a flurry of activity begins.

Welcome New Year in reflection and hope

Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church, 507 W. Wade Lane, will celebrate the New Year with a New Year’s Eve service at 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 31. The theme will be “What’s in a name?”. Holy communion will be served. The community is invited to join in the celebration. For more information, call 928-474-5440.

Simple swaps for a healthier you

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds, lose a significant amount of weight, or just maintain a healthy weight, there are some changes that have to be made. But those changes don’t have to be overwhelming.

Give yourself a lift with storage

It’s that time of the year, when we annually resolve to: (A) lose something, (B) to quit doing something or conversely (C) to start doing something. Unfortunately, many (or most) of these resolutions will inevitably fall by the wayside in very short order as day-to-day life overtakes good and wishful thinking.

Landmark hotel on Main

The Story of Payson, Arizona - Chapter 33: Landmark Hotel On Main Street

The rowdy and salty character of old Payson still lingers on Main Street in the façade of the Ox Bow Inn and Saloon. It was on these historic properties that the pageant of cow town living was enacted, including shoot-outs, horse races and rodeos performed between the rows of log and clapboard buildings.

Lady Horns break even in Holiday Hoops

The Lady Longhorns wrapped up play yesterday, Dec. 29, in the Holiday Hoops tournament with a 2-2 record and a 13th place finish in the 16 team field. Tournament champion Glendale Apollo posted a 4-0 record that included a win over outmanned Williams Field High Schools in the championship finale played last evening in Wilson dome.

Tuesday, December 29

Suspicious fire destroys Pine produce stand

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspicious early morning fire that recently destroyed a produce stand in Pine.

Trailwood West HOA names decoration contest winners

Winners of the annual Christmas Decoration Contest have been announced by the Trailwood West Homeowners Association (HOA).

Arizona’s budget is in dire condition

Our state budget continues to deteriorate. We are in the 13th month of double-digit decreases in sales tax revenues. We went through a $700-million loan in a matter of days, and our state treasurer has just borrowed another $900 million to get through the next few weeks. He has predicted that by late January our state could be writing checks (IOUs) for money we don’t have.

Expect DUI checkpoint this holiday weekend

Drivers can expect to see an increased number of officers on the streets this weekend as the sheriff’s office, police department and DPS saddle up for the new year.

Deadline is this week for Credit for Kids donations

It is down to the wire for Credit for Kids contributions. The state dollar-for-dollar tax credit that gives money to public schools for extracurricular activities is due by midnight, Thursday, Dec. 31.

Unhappy with eBay and PayPal policies

I have been a valued user of eBay and PayPal for over a decade. Today I was treated like a common criminal and my integrity was wrongfully questioned by eBay and PayPal.

Elk was wasted

On the evening of Dec. 19, I was returning home to Star Valley and saw that an elk and auto had a collision across from the rock quarry on Highway 260. There was a tow truck and four Payson patrol cars at the scene. I stopped and asked the tow truck driver if the elk had been claimed by anyone.

Lawmakers: Session stretching into summer led to many missed votes

PHOENIX — The state House of Representatives held 382 floor votes during the 2009 regular session, which stretched into July as lawmakers struggled with the budget deficit. Rep. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, didn’t participate in 254 of them, nearly two-thirds of the total.

Local jobs created by stimulus lauded

District One gained 1,100 jobs thanks to millions in federal spending says congresswoman

The first round of federal stimulus spending created or saved 1,100 jobs in the sprawling First Congressional District, which includes Rim Country, according to an analysis released by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

One Horn named as an all-star

The last of the all-star football teams are in, and the only Longhorn honored was linebacker-fullback Nick Johnson.

Community Almanac

The Senior Thrift Store, 512 W. Main St., will have an end-of-the-year bag sale of men’s and women’s clothing from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 31. Shoppers may fill standard-size grocery bags, which will be provided at the store, for $1 per bag. This includes all winter garments except children’s and boutique clothing.

Garden of Eden finds new home in Swiss Village

Visit the Garden of Eden in the Swiss Village Shops and you won’t find any serpents offering toxic apples. What you will find is all natural skin care products, herbs and spices, herbal extracts, supplements, teas and anything else you could think of to feel better — naturally.

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Students heat things up with Food Network star

Culinary arts students selected to help ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ star with Valley show

For one day, five Payson High School Culinary Arts students had a once in a lifetime opportunity with a major culinary star.

Residents battle suicidal thoughts

Austin Moffett loved skateboarding, the outdoors and most of all his family; however, after various setbacks, Moffett gave up on life and killed himself in August 2009. Before, he did, Moffett reached out to friends, but no one took his pleas seriously.

Basketball for youth makes a comeback

The good news in Town Parks and Recreation offices is that the fifth- and sixth-grade basketball league, which was a few weeks ago in danger of sputtering to a stall, is now purring like a fine-tuned V-8.

Elusive creature evades capture

For the past four days, an unidentified furry animal has stalked Payson’s streets. The beast made its first appearance Thursday afternoon in Rumsey Park. A day later it was spotted in the Bashas’ parking lot gazing at itself in a storefront window. Later, various residents reported seeing it in their yards and on Sunday it mocked police when it evaded capture in their own parking lot.

College’s impact on housing questioned

This article really should not go where it is going to go.

Blue Ridge water: A lifeline for communities

“In the west, whisky’s for drinkin’, water’s for fightin’” - Mark Twain

In the flush of spring after a rare, wet winter, you can paddle all the way from Washington Park to Phoenix down the placid East Verde River.

GCC now offering art degree, new classes for spring

Just in time for the spring semester, Gila Community College has unveiled a new associate’s degree in art.

County must not abandon its residents

Seems like the politics of water are always muddy.

Deep-seated devotion keeps retiree on road for hockey

Irene Schwartzbauer is no varmint hunter, but she’s been known to stalk coyotes — Phoenix Coyotes, that is.

Thanks for turning in purse

I apparently left my purse in a shopping cart at Bashas’ last Sunday. When I discovered I didn’t have it, I prayed all the way back to the store.

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Holiday Hoops championship tonight

The Holiday Hoops girls’ basketball tournament got off to a rip-roaring start yesterday morning, Dec. 28, in both Wilson Dome and old Payson High School gymnasium.

Thursday, December 24

Quilt Angels donate to Senior Center

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying a very relaxing holiday with friends and family today. Can you believe we are on the verge of 2010 all ready? It seems like it wasn’t that long ago we were entering into the new millennium.

The big, promised change

Obama gave us a big change alright, it’s corruption, bribery, blackmail, socialism and anything but transparency, honesty, and Chicago style politics.

Rim Country students write letters to Santa

Dear Santa, I really, really want a Leapster Two. I want a new stuffed animal puppy. What is your favorite kind of cookie? I’m serious. Mine is cinnamon. Please don’t put me on the naughty list. I’ve been a good girl. — Love, Abbygale

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Holiday Hoops tourney draws 16 teams

The Holiday Hoops girls basketball tournament will return to its former glory Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 when 16 teams from around the state gather in Wilson Dome and the old PHS gymnasium to battle for honors.

Don’t want Arizonans to find a higher tax bill under the tree

What’s on your Christmas list?

How safe is the Novel H1N1 vaccine?

In the mid 1970s, I was a medic in the U.S. Army. That’s also the period of the last outbreak of the swine flu or Novel H1N1 as we refer to it today. True to form, the military ordered mandatory immunizations and, as I was working in an Army dispensary, we administered the shot to the GIs in our corner of the world. Not long after, we experienced a very high incidence of GIs who returned with flu-like symptoms. We all believed it was the result of the vaccine.

Two Longhorn football players make All-Star team

A pair of Longhorn football players has been chosen to play in the Arizona Football Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game, and another is on the doorstep of participating.

Catching the Christmas spirit

I have this problem, maybe you can help me with it. Maybe, I can help myself with it.

We could use a few more like this guy

I have a lot of books. Used to have a lot more, but I screwed up when I moved up from the Valley. Thinking that I wouldn’t have room for them, I got rid of some of them. And yes, as you’re probably thinking, I’ve gone out and bought most of them again.

A football game was part of famous Christmas Truce during World War I

Sometimes there are stories and fables that remain fresh in our minds for decades.

Community Almanac

All remaining Christmas merchandise at the Senior Thrift Store, 512 W. Main St., will be half off the marked prices through Dec. 26. The store will be closed Dec. 25 for the Christmas holiday.

Boys basketball East title chase remains a mystery

Although coach Jared Swanson and his Longhorn basketball players are focused on the upcoming Alvarez Tire Hoops Classic at Bradshaw Mountain, they also harbor questions about what’s occurring in the baffling East region title chase.

The gift of time with loved ones is priceless

It is Christmas morning and family and friends surround me as we open gifts with anticipation and surprise. That nagging question that always seems to arise in me returns, “Did I get the right present for many of my relatives?”

Legislative grinch raids parks budget

State budget crashes, Payson may rescue Tonto Natural Bridge

The state budget crisis this week brought only bad news for state parks, increasing the odds Payson may have to take over the Rim Country’s best-known tourist attraction.

Attorneys bring years of litigation experience to town

No one really wants to go to a lawyer unless they absolutely have to. No one wants to be involved in a lawsuit, except maybe the lawyer.

SV residents upset with big gravel trucks

Imagine you live on a sleepy, narrow road where the only travel you see is local. Now imagine gravel trucks driving past your home day in and day out trucking gravel to the highway.

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Rim Country enjoys early White Christmas

Well-behaved winter storm delivers six inches, but may be gone before the big morning

Rim Country residents got an early white Christmas as a festive, but well-behaved storm blanketed Payson with six inches of snow — and not much more than that in Show Low and Flagstaff.

How about an overpass for students?

Regarding the crosswalk needs near the middle school, has consideration been given to a pedestrian overpass?

New year means new opportunities for Roth IRA conversion

If you already have a Roth IRA, you’re aware of its biggest benefit: Your earnings grow tax free, provided you meet certain conditions. If you don’t have a Roth IRA, you may want to consider one — and it may be easier for you to do just that in 2010.

Payson tax revenue down, expenses rise

Recovery falters as town spends more than it brings in

Payson’s fledgling economic recovery has apparently faltered, perhaps brewing more trouble for Payson’s battered finances.

December is most dangerous home-fire month of the year

The tree is up, the candles are lit, and the extension cords are plugged in. With all of the traditional touches comes the most dangerous month of the year. The items I listed below are of special concern for us and your safety over the next few weeks and from all of us here at the department, we wish you all the best for the holiday season.

Man pleads not guilty to stabbing

A man police believe assaulted his elderly mother and then stabbed a friend who tried to intervene, pleaded not guilty Dec. 14 at an arraignment hearing in Globe.

Remember homeless pets this holiday season

Boo is a 1-year-old Lab mix. She has been in two previous homes before finally being turned over to us on Dec. 15. Her first home was abusive and she was mistreated.

Getting together with family for the holidays

Have you been naughty or nice? The big test is just hours away and Santa Claus or St. Nicholas will be here very soon. I hope that everyone is ready. Dad, get your tools out to help jolly ol’ St. Nick put all those toys together, and Mom, are those cookies baked for Santa to eat on his way to another house? He does need his nourishment to keep going, he has a long way to go.

Wrestling coach, student charged with disorderly conduct

Police say following an exchange of words and a brief scuffle on school grounds, the Payson High School wrestling coach and a student were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

SEO poisoning of our computers is hard to swallow

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a useful tool for businesses trying to get prominent exposure on the Internet. When certain keywords are added into a Web page, search engines take note and deliver this information to us when we do an Internet search. When we type a phrase into our search engine, such as Google, the program reverts back to the keywords it has previously detected on various Web sites. The more exact the match, the higher up the Web site will be in the search results. It’s a simple concept, and we have learned to accept the listed Web sites as the best possible answer to our questions or curiosities.

Christmas filled with classic songs

I was blessed this past Saturday to play music for the Payson Community Kids’ Christmas party, hosted by the good folks at the United Methodist Church.

Chairman is forgetting about First Amendment right

Let me get this straight. A taxpaying citizen voices his or her opinion in a letter to the editor regarding their concern of recent action taken by elected Pine-Strawberry Fire District board members and called hypocritical by the chairperson in a public media?

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A Rim Country Christmas

Christmas in the Rim Country has many facets — all unique, all beautiful. Residents are blessed to have neighbors willing to share their skills and talents to make the holidays more merry and memorable.

Christmas events were very successful

Christopher Kohl’s Fire Department wishes to thank everyone who donated to their toy drive. It was a huge success.

Check out the 2009 holiday house lighting entries

If you are looking for something to do during the holidays, you might want to check out the 2009 House Lighting Contest entries.

Wednesday, December 23

remembering the ‘big snow’

Storm of 1967 is the one by which all others are measured

Two days. 48 hours. — That’s how long some folks were without power during the big winter storm a couple weeks ago (the author included). Yet that storm pales in comparison to Payson biggest winter storm ever: “the Big Snow of ’67.”

Christmas cookies add to festive fun

You might have a cookie exchange to go to yet this season, or need some “fall back” gift-giving items for unexpected guests or as a token of appreciation for the services provided by Rim businesses you frequent. To help out, here are a few Christmas cookie recipes.

Schedule of area Christmas services

“Journey to Bethlehem” – an outdoor, drive- or walk-through exhibit, is a series of scenes depicting the birth of Jesus the Savior that features over 10,000 lights. Designed and built by members of Ponderosa Baptist Church, the display will be lit from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly until Christmas Eve. On weekend nights, the panoramic presentation will feature live musicians.

Christmas 2009

Community celebrates the season with variety of events

Christmas in the Rim Country has many facets — all unique, all beautiful. Residents are blessed to have neighbors willing to share their skills and talents to make the holidays more merry and memorable.

Hawaii for everyone

It does not matter if you have never been to Hawaii or if you have visited there 20 times, there is always something new and wonderful about these islands.

Holiday gift ideas: thinking out of the box

The old holiday “clock on the wall” is steadily ticking away, and if you’re one of the many who are still looking for a few innovative gifts — something different, non-traditional and memorable — then it’s time to step it up a notch or two and to start thinking out of the box. Maybe even out of the giftwrap.

Tuesday, December 22

Winter storm causing accidents, slid-offs throughout state

With a winter storm moving through the Rim Country, motorists are urged to drive cautiously and if possible, stay home.

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Wrestling veterans provide leadership for squad

A solid core of dedicated wrestlers has emerged early in the season to provide the leadership and work ethic needed to lead the Longhorns to the wrestling promised land.

Falcons soar; Horn star goes down

The ferocious hardwood wars waged in 2006 when Payson battled Fountain Hills for the state basketball championship were rekindled Dec. 18 in the homestanding Falcons’ 54-45 win over the Longhorns.

Learn about waterfowl at Jan. 19 seminar

The Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is offering a unique seminar provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Migratory Game Bird Supervisor, Mike Rabe, on waterfowl natural history and identification.

FAN Club not dead; volunteers step up

Although Mark Twain uttered the famous quote, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” it could be attributed to any Payson Friends And Neighbors (FAN) Club member.

Celebration of new town home subdivision

Town leaders and community members celebrated the grand opening of Rim Ridge Estates.

Local investment firm expands to Scottsdale

To meet the needs of Valley investors, Kevin Dick, president of Kevin Dick Investment Management Group, opened a new financial services office in Scottsdale, at 16420 N. 92nd Street, Suite 228, just north of West World.

Survey finds increasing savings is top financial goal in 2010

As the new year quickly approaches and the economy starts to show signs of stabilizing, Americans are asking themselves what their top financial goals will be for 2010, said Edward Jones financial advisers Scott Flake, Ross Hage and Mike Blaes.

Sales tax deduction for new car purchases ends Dec. 31

This year, automotive dealerships received a lift from the highly publicized “Cash for Clunkers” campaign. However, a little-known government program gives new car buyers money back on their taxes.

Supporters hope momentum elsewhere leads to state law against text messaging while driving

Vinnie Sorce knew something was wrong when he saw a police officer pull into his driveway. He immediately sent his three children, two boys from a previous marriage and a little girl with his fiancee, to their rooms so he could talk to the officer outside.

Conference all-state choices not scientific

Now that the 3A conference’s all-state team rosters have been released, there is a lot of grumbling, griping, moaning and complaining over the selections.

Two lives lost in separate rollover crashes

Vehicle thefts lead to one accident: Firefighters find woman’s car at bottom of canyon

Officers are still trying to piece together a series of convoluted events that started with four car thefts in the White Mountains early Monday morning and ended in Payson with the death of one man and the arrest of another. Police are still looking for two other suspects.

Jobless rate drops on the Rim

Countywide rate drops sharply to 10.3; Payson rate down only slightly to 7.8

The November unemployment rate in Gila County dropped 1.2 percent — about twice as big a drop as the state as a whole.

SV town finances OK, town manager gets raise

It all comes down to dollars and cents. At the latest Star Valley council meeting, the town decided to leave its longtime hydrology firm over an $11,500 contract increase, give a $21,000 pay increase to its town manager and received a favorable update on its finances.

State tax credit keeps dollars in the Rim

Time is running out to designate your tax dollars to schools and organizations in desperate need of funding.

Community Almanac

All remaining Christmas merchandise at the Senior Thrift Store, 512 W. Main St., will be half off the marked prices through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26. The store will be closed Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 for the Christmas holiday.

Giving a gift that keeps on giving

Is the last-minute shopping Christmas meltdown moving in — like the first storm of winter?

Give to higher education

As the holidays near, you may be searching for the perfect gift for your loved one. Let me assure you, there is no better gift than a higher education.

Federal government is growing too big

The incredible growth of this federal government is again glaring in this morning’s news.

Parks and Recreation programs are important

I moved to Payson when I was 4 years old. Parks and Recreation has been there to help keep me active and happy. The sports they offer are soccer, basketball, football, baseball, T-ball and more.

New rules are form of blackmail

Blackmail. What else would you call it?

Shame on us

Would you accept a mortgage contract that allows various serious future actions against you of which your representative agent attempted to submit, for signature, without explanation?

Payson now has one of state’s

Payson’s Rim Country Health and Retirement Community now has one of the state’s few sensory rooms as a therapy tool for its residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. At some point the room may also be made available to children with sensory processing disorders, such as autism, said Lynnette Sommers, director of nursing at the facility, who spearheaded the drive to get the room.

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Book leads students to help others

A simple children’s book with an important domestic violence message, inspired a group of Payson High School students to give back to the community in more ways than one.

Patricia Fleeger to head Christian school

After 15 years, the Payson Community Christian School has a new administrator at the helm. Patricia Fleeger took over for Teresa Purtee on Oct. 16.

Only four honorable mentions on all-state football roster

The old adage “to the victor goes the spoils” proved extremely prophetic Dec. 13 when football coaches from the 3A conference cast their ballots for the all-state team.

Schedule of Christmas services

This is a wonderful, family event with a petting ranch, fire pits, caroling, food, favorite Christmas music and a great Christmas message.

Snow play areas expect busy holiday traffic

Public safety agencies in the Flagstaff area anticipate a high volume of visitors who wish to play in snow over the upcoming holiday weekends.

Apache-Sitgreaves forests plan revision process changed

Springerville — It seems the process required to revise an existing forest plan keeps changing.

Monday, December 21

House lighting winners

2009 House lighting winners

Man dies in rollover south of town

Police are investigating a rollover Monday morning that killed a man on southbound Highway 87.

Saturday, December 19

Holiday Lighting Contest Participants

2009 House lighting Entries

Friday, December 18

Fire board reverses decision on new battalion chiefs

By a 3-2 vote, the Pine-Strawberry Fire Board has reversed its original decision to create three new battalion chief positions, which would have provided extra support for the fire department during multiple calls, but also cost an extra $22,000.

Silvas love to entertain on their deck

Well the holiday season appears to be in full swing. The toy drive at the Creekside Restaurant has been a great success. Cindy says she has received a bunch of donations.

Council rejects school’s crosswalk request

Councilors worry Longhorn crosswalk with flashing lights would bring traffic on town’s second busiest street to a halt

In a rare gesture, the Payson Town Council rejected a plan to put a crosswalk with a flashing warning light in front of the school that was supported by both the Payson School District and the town’s engineering staff.

Level two sex offender now living in Strawberry

Travis Dewayne Gardner, 37, a level two sex offender notified the Gila County Sheriff’s Office he is living in Strawberry.

Firefighters close gap in live fire training

The fire roars. The heat batters you in waves. The smoke boiling against the ceiling descends toward the floor. So, what’s your nozzle setting, rookie?

Forest Service wants comments on new campground policy

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said the Forest Service is inviting comments on a proposed new policy for the acceptance of interagency passes at concession-operated campgrounds and day use recreation sites on national forests and grasslands. The policy would provide for coordination with concessioners to promote sustainable operations.

Activities have resumed in Tonto Village

Tonto Village suffered through no electricity, phones or water last week for about two and a half days.

Time to make New Year’s financial resolutions

Like many people, you may make some New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’ve promised yourself that you’ll visit the gym more often or learn a new language or reconnect with a long-lost friend.

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Shooting, archery range draws top shots

Outdoorsmen and women from around the Rim Country are penning letters to Santa asking for the newest in firearms, whether it’s a single shot. 22 or a high-tech, custom-built rifle.

Lady Horns edge Show Low in tight game; coach looing for improvement

Although the Lady Longhorns improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the East with a 35-32 win over the Show Low Cougars, first-year coach Kelly Krieg is looking for improvement.

Good news lightens humane society problems

Payson council extends $7,400 monthly contract with shelter as volunteers repair roof

Sometimes, bad luck brings good things.

Remember a glass half full with Cardinals

Rather than agonizing over the Cardinals’ 24-9 loss on Monday Night Football to the San Francisco 49ers, let’s take the “glass half full” approach and remember all the Cards have accomplished in the past few seasons.

Come see the light display in Pine

There were certainly plenty of sparks flying at the recent fire board meeting. A large crowd showed up to question the board on its decision to approve the promotion of three captains to battalion chiefs while publicly stating that there would be no salary increases this year. Unfortunately, some folks look at dissent as a personal attack rather than an opportunity to dialogue and have civil discussion regarding all sides of an issue.

Cruise Port sails the high seas in new ship

Earlier this month, Carol and Kelly Watts of Cruise Port Travel returned from a visit to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and were among the first to experience Royal Caribbean International’s newest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas.

Horns cage Cougars, 64-51

It’s becoming commonplace to expect Longhorn basketball team captains Ever Figueroa, Dakota Marshall and Cody Waterman to shoulder the load at crunch time.

Town may run Tonto Bridge

State cuts may force Payson to operate state park

“Catastrophic” budget cuts could force the closure of half the state parks this year, but Payson may then take over Tonto Natural Bridge to keep it open.

Gifts for outdoors enthusiasts

There is only one week left before Santa will be making his rounds in the Rim Country, and gift selection may still be a question for some of those “hard to buy for” outdoorsmen in your life. It can be difficult, and a few hints or ideas are always helpful, especially when that fishing and hunting arena may be very foreign to other family members.

Whispering Pines forms water district

Legal rights unclear as county official warns board to brace for ‘heartache’ and controversy

The 187 property owners in Whispering Pines have formed a water improvement district, in hopes of negotiating with the Salt River Project and Payson for water from the Blue Ridge Pipeline.

Sad to lose someone who meant so much

A couple of weeks ago I was setting up to announce the Electric Light Parade when Doc Holiday, one of the parade judges, bore the sad news to me that Marcy Rogers, director and founder of “Marcy’s Kids,” had passed away.

Gift suggestions from Santa Paws

Here it is one week before Christmas! The year has just blown by (literally at times).

Volleyball All-Stars selected

Payson High School seniors Desi Burris and Michelle Daniels are seeing stars — Arizona Coaches Association All-Stars that is.

Famous Sam’s has new owner

A New Hampshire transplant hopes to add a little East Coast flare to the Payson restaurant scene.

SV sewage system price may top $40M

The town of Star Valley is at a crossroads. In order to expand its economic base, it needs a sewage system that can handle hotels, restaurants and shopping.

Payson must get ‘funky’ to prosper

Grady Gammage has deep roots — but says visitors have few reasons to venture into town

To prosper, Payson needs to get “funky” — with quaint, shopping districts within walking distance of the proposed four-year college and its parks instead of dull strip malls. It needs coffee shops, bike trails and good restaurants.

Defeating a government takeover of health care

Senate Republicans are united in the belief that a Washington takeover of the nation’s health care system is bad for the country and must be defeated.

Best holiday gifts for the computer lover

Maybe your holiday shopping is done — but if you are like the other 95 percent of us, you still need to check off a few more shopping list items before you can relax with a glass of egg nog and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

RCMS chorus performance appreciated

Thanks to Ms. Daria Mason and the Rim Country Middle School chorus. We would like to express our appreciation to the RCMS chorus for the performance they gave Dec. 9.

Operation Christmas Blessing was a huge success

We at the Payson Supply Line would like to thank all of the wonderful people who made “Operation Christmas Blessing” at Granny’s Attic such a huge success! Sponsored by the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community, this was by far our biggest fund-raising event ever, bringing in over $6,000 in donations.

Gammage issues challenge of funk

This hurts. Really hurts. But we gotta say it. Grady’s right. Rats.

Great gifts in Rim Country stores

I have to admit, like many of you, I have not explored our Rim Country stores this Christmas season. I’m not sure if I can blame it on time constraints, laziness or just a lack of being aware of what is right under our noses. On the urging of an out-of-town friend, I finally visited stores in the Swiss Village. I was surprised and amazed by what I saw there. All of the the items are better made and less expensive than I can purchase from a chain store and they are unique.

December chamber mixer raises money for Payson Community Kids

The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce wants to thank all who attended our December chamber mixer, on Dec. 11, at Crabdree Insurance Agency. More than 60 people attended, networked, admired Tina Crabdree’s art, and ate great food and refreshments.

AARP card adds to confusion

I would like the Roundup to warn seniors of what I call fraud by AARP.

Community Almanac

The La Boutique Gift Shop will be holding a Christmas sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18 in the main lobby of Payson Regional Medical Center.

My days in the leper colony at Tachikawa Air Base

In the Gregory Peck film titled “Twelve O’clock High,” a story of Bomber Command in England during World War II and in my opinion one of the best war films ever made, all the squadron screw ups were transferred into one flight crew called the “Leper Colony.”

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Rebuilding history

Father and son enjoy creating replicas of Colorado tunnels, towns

Scot Proudfoot stares intently at an Alpine hillside, does it have enough trees, grass and dirt to replicate the real thing he wonders? He delicately moves a few things and with the flip of a tiny switch, a flurry of activity begins.

Bikes given new life, become Christmas gifts

Once again Santa’s helpers have been busy refurbishing some 80 bikes to distribute to eligible children in Gila County at Christmas.

Jazz CD offered to help Community Presbyterian church

Many in Rim Country know that the Payson Community Presbyterian Church hosts a monthly jazz performance that has been going on for almost 10 years.

Wednesday, December 16

Recipes for the season

The holidays are upon us, which means not only are you preparing those huge meals, but you also have an endless stream of other fun and festive get-togethers with hungry guests. To help you whip up those extra special dishes during the holidays, the folks at Carnation have created some rich and creamy holiday recipes.

Gingerbread house construction party

The members of the Crossroads Foursquare Church invite Rim Country residents and visitors to join them for their fourth annual Gingerbread Party at the church.

Snowbowl preparing to open

With the Dec. 7 storm and more expected earlier this week, officials at the Arizona Snowbowl are very excited and currently preparing the mountain for an opening soon.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 32, The Long Road to a Townsite

It was not until the year 1930 that Payson residents ceased to be living in the Tonto National Forest and could call the community a town. The problem had its roots 46 years earlier.

A Southern Caribbean cruise with an Italian touch

MSC Cruises, the Italian cruise company with the newest fleet of passenger ships in the world recently brought their beautiful Poesia (it translates to a “sea poem”) to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for a series of Caribbean cruises this winter.

Time to plan and prepare for winter travel

The winter months offer the perfect excuse to plan a fabulous getaway, and you don’t have to travel far to find something that fits your vacation expectations.

Breathing tips for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

I remember reading something you wrote a long time ago about the proper way to breathe for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I didn’t need the information then. I do now.

Time to Brush-Up on Gutters

Winter is here, and with it comes wetter weather from border-to-border and coast-to-coast in the form of snow and ice up North and in the Midwest and torrential rains for the Sunbelt states.

Tuesday, December 15

finishing touch flowers and gifts relocates

After being in business for 16 years in Payson, Debbee McDonald relocated Finishing Touch Flowers and Gifts to East Verde Estates.

Construction outlook still terrible

Payson approves 27 new single family homes in one of worst years ever

Payson stands ready to close out one of its worst years on record when it comes to issuing building permits.

Each councilor should appoint

The committee appointment process for the Payson Town Council is still broken and needs fixing.

Councilor calls for change in appointments

Ed Blair wants entire council to interview candidates for committees after latest political flap

The latest flap about appointments to Payson town committees has prompted at least one council member to call for another overhaul of the whole system.

Snowplowing will continue — for this year

With the Arizona Department of Transportation facing a $100 million budget deficit this year, I stressed that we would focus on the safety of the traveling public and use our state highway system to keep the economy moving.

Thank you President Obama

Just read in your paper how money from the federal stimulus program funded the new well in Pine.

Track dynasty rooted in Rim Country

Most everyone in the Rim Country remembers Shaun, Ellie, Whitney and Kari Hardt.

WM offers convenient transfer station

It’s a stinky, messy and expensive mess.

State reminds parents two H1N1 shots needed for children

As the 2009 H1N1 influenza begins to fade from the media spotlight, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reminds parents and caregivers of the need for a second dose of H1N1 vaccination for young children.

Concert was uplifting experience

Thank God — The Spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Payson.

Black ice causes rollover, teens uninjured

Police say two teenagers were uninjured after rolling their vehicle near Payson High School Thursday morning.

Longhorns, Show Low in dome tonight

Although all eyes will be focused on Wilson Dome this evening, Dec. 15, to see how the Longhorn (6-1) boys basketball team fares in its East region opener against Show Low (3-2), it’s the Round Valley Elks creating the buzz in smalltown Arizona.

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Short roster won’t hinder Horn hopes for region title

Although the Longhorn wrestling line-up was not at full strength for the 3A East Multi-meet held Dec. 12 in Show Low, coach Travis Koppenhafer returned confident PHS could make a run at the region title.

Draft board members sought for Gila County positions

The Gila County draft board is seeking volunteers for board positions.

Test your knowledge of the 2009 real estate market with this quiz

Thank you for reading this real estate column during 2009.

Bald eagles breeding area closed to public

It’s time again for Arizona’s bald eagles to begin their breeding activities, and outdoor recreationists are asked to help protect important breeding areas by honoring the closure of 20 areas across the state.

Political theater unnecessary

The Washington political theater over health coverage is unnecessary. The legislators of both houses are either ignorant or disingenuous about their concern for the uninsured.

School Briefs

GCC will be offering two administration of justice classes for spring semester.

Former Longhorn athletes return to Payson to share skills as coaches

With 13 former Payson High athletes now on the school’s coaching staff, the Longhorns are a tight-knit clan whose members apparently believe home is where the heart is.

District goes with teacher contract changes

In order to comply with state law, the Payson Unified School District adopted new governing board policies Monday night that eliminate contract security and allow for teacher salary reductions at anytime.

Mortgage forgiven for Veterans Helping Veterans

Wells Fargo cancels $310,000 loan so 20-30 homeless

Wells Fargo Bank has written off a $310,000 loan and turned over to Veterans Helping Veterans the title to a makeshift Payson homeless shelter for 20 or 30 people, many of them veterans.

Voting against workers of Arizona

We understand that our letter will not crack through the concrete set of the Republicans’ mind.

Eastern Arizona Counties resource committee to meet Jan. 7

The next meeting of the Eastern Arizona Counties Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2010 at 10 a.m. at the Pinetop Regional Office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Plea offer not accepted, state prepares case on porn charges

The state is preparing to go to trial against a 72-year-old Payson man accused of downloading and scanning hundreds of photos of underage children onto his computer, after he refused a plea deal.

Town youth basketball program hurting

Budget constraints at the Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department could be hurting the once-popular Fifth- and Sixth-Grade NBA Basketball Program.

Community Almanac

The La Boutique Gift Shop will be holding a Christmas sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16, Thursday, Dec. 17 and Friday, Dec. 18 in the main lobby of Payson Regional Medical Center.

Plane crashes at Payson Airport

The pilot of a single engine Cessna made a crash landing Friday morning at the Payson Airport.

Council races turn on view of incumbents

Star Valley draws more candidates than Payson, with no open seats in either town

Despite mountains of problems and a sickly economy, all the council incumbents in both Payson and Star Valley will seek re-election. Star Valley seems set for a political dustup in the March 9 council election.

Payson sells $1.5 million in bonds for fire station

Report gives town A+ credit rating, sets ‘market value’ at $2.2B

The Payson Town Council has approved the sale of $1.5 million in bonds to build a third fire station, but hopes residents won’t see an increase in their sales tax.

Thanks to APS trouble men

I would like to extend a big thank you to the Arizona Public Service trouble men and linemen for their hard work under extreme conditions.

Thespians preparing to debut four one-act plays in January

Still high from their honors at the Arizona State Thespian Conference in November, Payson High School drama students are charged up for their upcoming one-act plays in January.

Senior Center, Senior Circle have last-minute gifts ideas

I gave myself a treat this morning and spent a few minutes in memory lane. Awakening later than usual, I realized that for once I didn’t have to rush around to be somewhere, so I got up and fed Q, our cat (priority), turned up the heat, plugged in the coffee maker and crawled back in bed. The gurgling sound and delicious scent of coffee brewing took me back to my childhood when those sounds and scents were a regular morning event.

Christmas tree permits only available in the Valley

So you’ve been waiting all year for your chance to get a Forest Service Christmas tree, watching the smoke from the burning slash piles drift through town.

Saturday, December 12

Military News

Shawn and Deniese Morgan announce the graduation of their daughter Kayla Morgan from basic combat training with the U.S. Army.

Friday, December 11

Basketball season could be exciting

It’s a bit too early to make predictions, but the 2009-2010 East Region basketball season could be a barnburner.

Christmas songs bring back memories

The Tonto Village area is still without electricity as of Wednesday. The power went out Monday afternoon and workers could not provide a specific time for power to be restored as of mid-day Wednesday.

Nativity display was perfect remedy for holiday madness

There I was thinking about the Christmas letter that still needed written, the cards that needed addressed and sent, the ornaments that needed made for this party, the cookies for that one, a birthday coming up right in the midst of Christmas, shopping that I haven’t even started, and a million other things on my to do list — you get the picture. That’s when my friend called and asked if I was going to visit the Nativity display in Pine. Yes, it was on my calendar and I certainly did want to go, but it was quickly getting shoved aside. We set a date and she and her grandsons joined my daughters and me at the Cultural Hall in Pine. It was the perfect remedy for the ongoing holiday madness taking place all around me! As I began focusing on the different Nativity sets from Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Germany, Alaska, and all points in between, I forgot about my to do list and completely relaxed for the first time in days. We spent over an hour at the exhibit and then talked for another hour while the kids played. For a little while I was able to focus on the things that are really important. I want to thank Linda Howard and her dedicated crew of helpers who work so hard each year to bring this unique display to Pine.

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New sponsor puts racer back on track

Economic hard times have slammed almost everyone in the Rim Country, including amateur race car drivers.

Arizona native loves Christopher Creek

The snow has arrived! Wow, what a storm! I do not remember a time all last year or the year before where the power was out longer than four hours. I called APS on numerous occasions about the outage in the Christopher Creek area. On one occasion I was on hold for over three hours (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) and then my phone battery died. When I was able to call again later “the list” of outages had grown to basically include all of Arizona. It would’ve likely been shorter to say which areas did have power. Anyway, from what I hear, this storm is supposed to only pick up steam, which means the people in the Midwest and back east are really going to be in for something big!

Habitat for Humanity is big help to community

Habitat for Humanity is a big asset to the economy and the community. It provides affordable housing for Payson families and also provides prime living space for families at a price they can afford.

Great concert

Just returned from the Payson High School auditorium where they performed the most amazing concert I’ve ever attended.

Wrestling roster again short

The 2009-10 high school wrestling season was supposed to mark the end of Longhorn woes in which the team could not field a full lineup of wrestlers in all 14 weight classes.

Nice to see hot chocolate is now a tradition

In response to JoAnne Mallon’s letter to the editor regarding the Swiss Village lighting ceremony. I am sorry that you missed getting the free hot chocolate we were giving away that evening. I am flattered to see that Payson Pet Care’s free hot chocolate has become so popular that it is considered tradition, even expected. With so many things to see and do in the Swiss Village during the Christmas lighting ceremony, perhaps you didn’t make it to our lobby.

Storm forces rescheduling for Longhorn basketball

Holbrook game rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 2, Show Low game date still pending

The storm that roared through the Rim Country Dec. 7 and 8 wreaked havoc on the Payson High School basketball schedule.

Survival depends on kindness of strangers

Maybe your lights went out.

Man charged with assaulting mother, stabbing man

Police say a Payson man who assaulted his elderly mother ended up stabbing a man who tried to intervene.

Storm benefits area lake levels, wildlife

The first major winter storm has hit the Rim Country and the White Mountains and may have caused a little inconvenience, but is a welcome arrival in regard to future water levels at the local lakes. Most rain gauges in the Payson area recorded about two inches of precipitation while the higher elevations received nearly two feet of very wet snow.

Community Almanac

Frontier Elementary School has a Christmas store stocked with crafts goods and more from area crafters and vendors for the shopping convenience of students, their parents and the community.

Help needed to continue Payson Community Kids

The fate of the Payson Community Kids program, founded by Marcy Rogers, whose body was found in her home Dec. 5, has yet to be decided by its board. However the desire is to continue either the full program or a modified form after the first of the year.

$400 prize awaits best holiday lighting display

The fifth annual Holiday Lighting Contest for residents of Payson and Star Valley boasts a whopping $400 first prize this year.

Rim Country Compassionate Friends candle lighting

Residents of the Rim Country can join the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting to honor the memory of children who have died.

Flu shot restrictions lifted, Friday clinic set at Julia Randall

There will be a free flu shot clinic from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11 at Julia Randall Elementary School gymnasium, 902 W. Main St., Payson.

Two out, two in on Payson committees

Appointments spur political debate

The contentious Ghost of Christmas Past rose up at last night’s Payson council meeting to prove that politics still can claim its victims when it comes time to appoint citizens to committees.

Humane Society building damaged by storm

The Humane Society of Central Arizona is struggling to patch together their already decrepit facility after Monday’s winter storm ripped through the property, leaving debris everywhere.

FBI say duo has now robbed six banks

Since October, the FBI believes a duo dubbed the High Country Bandits has robbed six northern Arizona banks including a Payson bank just before Thanksgiving.

Fire destroys 3-story log home in half-hour

After an intense fire ripped through a three-story Whispering Pines log home Monday, all that remained was an oversized campfire of twisted metal and charred logs.

Two lives lost in snow storm

Family, hunters stranded by snow found by search teams

The first storm of winter claimed two lives in the Rim Country this week, a 27-year-old Tempe firefighter and 38-year-old man from Young.

How I became intimately acquainted with waste disposal technology

I arrived at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, with a dual dose of odd reputation, one part deserved, the other totally insane.

Follow this investment checklist to end the year off right

We have pretty much seen it all this past year: a bear market, a long rally and even a period of neither-up-nor-down.

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Make Christmas merrier with choral society concert

‘A Joyous Noel’ will be presented at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Payson High School auditorium

As a child I started getting excited about Christmas when we would hear carols on the car radio — I think it must have been a time when the commercial world actually waited until after Thanksgiving to start revving up the holiday shopping season engines ... or I was too young to pay attention to commercials and such.

Need to celebrate Bill of Rights Day

The Bill of Rights literally defines America. So why don’t we celebrate Dec. 15, the day it was ratified, with as much importance as we celebrate July 4th, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

Author offers inexpensive, gift-giving advice

In these tough economic times, we all struggle with how much we can spend on gifts for the holidays. On top of cost, we then need to be sure of sizes and tastes, or the usefulness or desirability of the chosen gifts.

Electric fences are harmless

Electric fences do not harm animals or people.

Shelter endures Mother Nature’s fury

Mother Nature came to visit late Monday night and when she left, she took part of our building with her. We’ve heard the winds blew somewhere between 70 and 90 miles per hour, and we believe it. Some of the tin from our roof was found as far as the field across the road east of us. And she picked up our swamp coolers and tossed them like dice.

Angels on trees waiting for adoption

More than 100 angels on trees in Payson and Pine are waiting to be adopted.

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Spirit of Christmas is at hand

Dazzling guitarists, dancing angels and singing help catch the season’s spirit

The brilliant flourishes of musical joy, dancing angels, hyperactive smoke machines, spotlighted wise men, sudsy snow flurries, a singing prophet, cavorting jesters, mad dog guitarists and beams of colored spotlights made three things perfectly clear last Sunday.

It’s cloudy on the computer horizon

The forecast for the future of computing is in ... and it says that there are “clouds” on the horizon. This is not a gloomy forecast, however, the cloudy weather will bring much-needed relief to the software-stressed world of PCs.

Time to ‘Ring Them Bells’

If you have recently patronized Walmart, Safeway or Bashas’ on a Friday or Saturday, you have undoubtedly been greeted by one of the Salvation Army bell-ringers as you entered the doors to do your shopping.

Teens hit ice, roll car twice

Police say two teenagers were uninjured after rolling their vehicle near Payson High School Thursday morning.

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Plane crashes at Payson Airport

The pilot of a single engine Cessna made a crash landing Friday morning at the Payson Airport.

Thursday, December 10

FBI looking for bandits that robbed six Arizona banks

Since October, the FBI believes a duo dubbed the High Country Bandits has robbed six northern Arizona banks including a Payson bank just before Thanksgiving.

Rescuers searching for 33 stranded hunters, four near Payson

The severe winter storm that pounded Coconino County earlier this week is being blamed for numerous calls for help from hunters that are trapped in heavy snow. So far, the sheriff’s office believes there are 11 groups (more than 33 people) waiting for rescue.

Wednesday, December 9

FBI looking for bandits that robbed Compass Bank

The FBI believes an organized group called the High Country Bandits robbed the Payson Compass Bank Nov. 25.

Update on power, shelter and roadway conditions

The Arizona Department of Transportation reports all highways in Arizona are open and there are currently no restrictions in place.

The Excursion Mine

Southwest of Payson, the land lies mostly still. Yet poking around into the history reveals far more than just a chunk of private land in the midst of Tonto National Forest. It reveals ties to a big local name and a big state name. This is the story of the Excursion Mine.

Fibroids can cause anemia in women

I am 42 and have an anemia. My doctor thinks it results from my menstrual bleeding, which is quite heavy. I have been taking iron pills, but I am still anemic.

December treats at Tonto National Monument

Come join a park ranger for an afternoon tour of Schoolhouse Platform Mound at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12 and enjoy its fascinating cultural history. Have you have ever wondered how people survived hundreds of years ago? The Schoolhouse Platform Mound was occupied for more than 100 years. Park Ranger Jan Harper will touch on farming, natural resource use, why Schoolhouse Platform Mound is different from others located in Tonto Basin, and other historical insights into the area.

Holiday travel suggestions

There are many people whose families are scattered around the country and when holiday time approaches some people wonder if they want to get involved in visiting relatives or would they rather take a vacation over Christmas and perhaps New Years. If you are among those who wish to get away the later part of December here are of few ideas for vacation escape.

Helpful holiday hosting how-tos

With the holiday season in full swing, party planners everywhere look to answer the same festive question with their annual gatherings: How do you spread the holiday spirit among guests? While décor and music play a role, nothing raises spirits more than a memorable hors d’oeuvres and drink spread that satisfies appetites and makes guests jolly.

$400 prize awaits best holiday lighting display

The fifth annual Holiday Lighting Contest for residents of Payson and Star Valley boasts a whopping $400 first prize this year.

Merry Music

Payson Choral Society brings the beauty of Christmas to the Rim Country with a program of songs for all tastes

As a child I started getting excited about Christmas when we would hear carols on the car radio – I think it must have been a time when the commercial world actually waited until after Thanksgiving to start revving up the holiday shopping season engines… or I was too young to pay attention to commercials and such.

Make safety a priority when decorating for holiday

It was in the movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” that actor Chevy Chase demonstrated all of the wrong things to do when trimming the house for the holidays. While the scene was a riot, home decorating safety is no laughing matter.

Tuesday, December 8

Stay safe shopping; don’t give a gift to a thief

It’s been said that the true spirit of the holiday season is in giving, not receiving. With this in mind, it’s likely that you will be spending a bit of time shopping for presents, your credit card flying out of your wallet or purse like wind-blown snow. But as you shop in stores and online, be sure you’re not giving a surprise gift to an identity thief. Because the surprise will be on you — and it won’t be a good one.

Spaghetti feast brings parents to school

More than 230 parents and kids brought food donations for the poor and crowded into Rim Country Middle School’s free spaghetti feast last week.

Special Tonto Monument tours offered

Enjoy fascinating cultural history with ranger-guided tours offered by Tonto National Monument.

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Parade thrills onlookers

Instead of sleigh bells and snowflakes, boats, horses and tractors were the themes at Saturday’s ninth annual Main Street/APS Electric Light Parade. While a few sleds and reindeer snuck their way in, it was the Southwest’s warm weather activities that took center state.

Chamber Insider

from the Manager

Holiday Greetings!

The need for health insurance reform

I am honored to be representing District One in this Congress, and I am determined to make Greater Arizona’s voices heard in Washington. My family has been in the district for four generations, and I want to make sure that our values and ideas are part of any national debate.

Deep well in Pine hits water

Federally funded well in tiny subdivision has the potential to nearly double area’s water supply

A 1,500-foot well in Pine drilled with $625,000 in federal stimulus money has struck water — a little deeper than backers had expected.

Payson schools face $1.2 million deficit without budget override

Board approves March 9 election to avoid layoffs, larger classes, fees, program cuts

Facing a projected $1.2-million deficit, the Payson Unified School District Board decided on Monday to ask the voters for a 10 percent budget override in March.

Public, media don’t understand state budget issues

The Dec. 1 editorial (“Budget Crisis: More Excuses”) is a classic example of “killing the messenger.” As the particular messenger in question, I take exception to your ivory-tower aspersions on budget issues you know nothing about.

Homeowner battles East Verde fire with garden hose

A homeowner’s quick thinking likely saved his home from going up in flames Sunday, after a blaze broke out in a wood burning stove’s chimney.

Community Almanac

The fifth annual Holiday Lighting Contest for residents of Payson and Star Valley boasts a whopping $400 first prize this year.

Deck the halls, but hold the calls

The holiday season is here, and many people will be singing along with their favorite seasonal songs.

Braving the cold to capture a brown

The ice is starting to form on the lakes above 7,000 feet on the Rim and in the White Mountains where only the most diehard anglers are still wetting a line. They are in pursuit of lunker size German brown trout that are trying to spawn in these high mountain lakes.

Historic headlines capture tragic drama

Payson man treasures newspapers that chronicle attack on Pearl Harbor

The paper has yellowed, but the headlines produced by the day the world changed 68 years ago remain black and bold.

Town leaders destroying way of life in Payson

Through the years, many people have been attracted to Payson’s small town atmosphere and very beautiful mountain scenery.

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Storm results in one death

A powerful winter storm thrashed the Rim Country last night, killing a hunter, knocking out power, dropping several inches of snow in Pine-Strawberry, triggering rockslides and covering Payson with a sheet of ice that caused several accidents as more than a dozen cars slid off the road.

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Horns win Cake Chevrolet Shoot Out

The coach from Down Under has his team up above.

Clothe-A-Child program

Payson Masonic Lodge No. 70 will once again be providing a Merry Christmas to approximately 50 of the neediest children from five Rim Country schools — Payson, Tonto Basin and Pine/Strawberry. The children selected for this program by the school authorities are in grades kindergarten through fifth.

Trio wins black powder titles

Move over Buffalo Bill, make room for Lee Bumbalow, Wayne Liezeit and Smokey Slaughter.

Burris makes All-State

Desi Burris was the lone Lady Longhorn volleyball player selected to the Class 1A-3A All-State team when selections were announced Dec. 6.

Fast pitch clinics set through month

Freshmen don’t often have the opportunity to play varsity sports, but that’s exactly what happened during the Cake Chevrolet Shoot Out held last weekend in Winslow.

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Kids savor happy hunt for ancient treasures

Hurray! It’s half day!

Payson Community Kids founder dies

Known for her big heart, tremendous energy and enthusiastic, boundless love for the Rim Country’s at-risk children, Marcy Rogers was found dead in her home Saturday, Dec. 5.

Another business bites the (saw)dust

On Thursday, the Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company announced it was closing the doors on its Payson and Lakeside locations due to the economic times, which have brought the construction market to standstill.

Victory should be our exit strategy

During a stop in Phoenix in August, President Barack Obama told a group of veterans that the war in Afghanistan is “not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity ... if left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting; this is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

Pearl Harbor’s vital lessons

We vowed to never forget our “day of infamy.”

Older homes come with unique problems

Many home buyers prefer the charm and craftsmanship in older homes.

Generosity of effort and spirit is gratifying

In recent weeks, the outpouring of generosity from the community has been amazing.

ADOT closes roads due to major winter storm

FLAGSTAFF—The Arizona Department of Transportation has closed several highways statewide tonight due to blowing and drifting snow and icy roadways—conditions treacherous for drivers. ADOT’s top priority during this major winter storm is the safety of all travelers.

Monday, December 7

Weather cancels games

The Longhorns were scheduled to return to action Monday evening, Dec. 7 in Holbrook, but those games were postponed due to a snowstorm that was expected to make Rim Country roads unsafe for travel.

Children’s advocate dies

Known for her big heart, tremendous energy and enthusiastic, boundless love for the Rim Country’s at-risk children, Marcy Rogers was found dead in her home Saturday, Dec. 5.

Winter storm expected to bring heavy snowfall and road closures

Weather Service: Some roads becoming impassable by Tuesday night

With a blizzard weather warning in effect across much of the Coconino National Forest including the Rim Country, the Forest Service is expecting to close a number of roads by this afternoon.

Friday, December 4

No ‘choice’ in health care

Well, Americans, the U.S. Senate passed a health care bill in the middle of the night by the narrowest vote. So here’s the monstrosity we get.

County supervisors want more study of four-day work week

The Gila County Supervisors this week came eyeball to eyeball with a four-day work week to save on utility costs and ended up blinking like crazy.

County shelves complaints about road to Young

The Pleasant Valley Fire Board made an appeal to the Gila County Board of Supervisors to do something about the deteriorating condition of the main road into town — but the reaction suggests they’d better get used to washboarding.

Rookie coach gets first ‘W’

After improving their season’s record to 2-1 with back-to-back wins over Globe and Chino Valley, the Lady Longhorns have a six-day respite to fine-tune their game.

Holiday Hoops tournament returns to Rim

The Holiday Hoops girls basketball tournament will return to its full glory this season.

Part musical, part chorus, show is all fun

Mix of carols and rock rhythms last year drew 1,800 and four

Expect two surprises on Sunday.

Tease photo

Legends of Gold

Tales of the Superstition Mountains

Cottonwoods along the East Verde stand naked and forlorn.The fish hatchery is shuttered and silent. Winter is closing in on the high country. So it must be time to look for legends and gold, down south in the jagged wilderness of the Superstitions.

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Horns spurred to dual victories

Chino Valley and Globe are wallowing in similar hardwood hurts — both inflicted by a Longhorn basketball team determined to improve upon a lackluster showing in a season-opening 66-39 loss to the Winslow Bulldogs.

Kids party, quad parade coming up

Well it looks like most people have their lights up around Christopher Creek and we’ve had a couple of days where we got a little snow. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

All-region selections

Although Payson High (3-7 overall, 1-4 in the region) didn’t enjoy a 2009 football season to write home about, East head coaches thought enough of the players to dole out all-region honors to 10 team members.

Payson’s Electric Light Parade is tomorrow night

This Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. sharp, Payson’s ninth annual Electric Light Parade will be stepping-off, working its way down Main Street, from the Sawmill Theatres to Julia Randall Elementary School.

Community Almanac

The community of Young will have its annual Holiday Bazaar Dec. 4, 5 and 6.

Saturday is last chance to view Nativity display

Although the weather threatened to dampen the evening, an enthusiastic crowd turned out for the first Festival of Lights event in Pine.

Electronic file management can be a breeze

It’s the end of the month, and you need to cross-reference your credit card statement with your bank records. You pull open the file drawer only to find it bursting at the seams.

Prescription drug abuse by teens on the rise

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has sounded an alarm on teens abusing prescription drugs.

Foresters take Payson residents on a Walk in the Woods

Ecologists and foresters from the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University and the Tonto National Forest are inviting Payson area residents to join them on a free Walk in the Woods from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Dec. 8.

New resale shop offers plenty of good ‘loot’

If you’ve grown tired of the retail shops in town, you’re in luck because a new resale store recently opened in the Swiss Village shopping center.

All pets deserve home for the holidays

It’s official, the holiday season is upon us. Our wish is that each and every one of our animals could be settled into a warm and comfortable home for the holidays. A home where they would be allowed to live out their whole lives and never again spend time in a shelter. We wish this not only for our animals, but for all the homeless animals.

Where in the world are good investment opportunities these days?

Back in first-grade or so, you learned that U.S. territory ended where Mexico’s or Canada’s began. Geographically speaking, that is still true.

Did you enjoy Independence Day on Monday?

November is a great month for holidays, isn’t it? To begin with, the first of November is All Saints Day, which is why we have Halloween (All Hallows Eve) on the last day of October. Then comes election day, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the month. Some years that’s quite a celebration. Hasn’t been any great shakes lately though. Then comes the 10th, the anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps back in 1775, followed the very next day by Veterans Day. A biggie falls on the fourth Thursday of November — Thanksgiving Day, of course. And then, to top off a busy month, there’s Independence Day on the 30th.

A special gift of care

Like more than a few people in the area, early this year, Earl and Gladys (last names withheld) lost their jobs in Payson because of economic cutbacks.

Affordable housing supporters thanked

Last year we had more than 80 families and individuals contribute to Payson Area Habitat for Humanity under the Charitable Tax Credit. Those 80 supporters are personally responsible for the funds needed to build half of a unit at Longhorn Village! They made a huge difference in Payson by simply keeping their tax dollars here in Payson. Talk about an easy way to make a huge impact! I truly thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Teachers face big changes to job contracts

Two months after learning they would have to instate major changes to teacher contracts, salary, tenure and layoffs, the Payson Unified School District began grappling with the issue Monday night.

No resignation offered; apology unwarranted

Mr. Boys, I too served our country with military service and even though I’m older, I do not believe we fought for the right to be hypocritical. First, you added your speculation as to our chief’s income and stated he was paid an “outrageously high salary.” Then, you wrote certain board members should “research the validity of this proposal” ie: adding a battalion chief.

SV council votes to keep trail open to all

With stunning views, a meandering stream and an easy-to-follow trail, Monument Peak Loop is a popular, three-mile route enjoyed by hikers, bikers, riders and OHV drivers.

Federal funds for health clinic sought

Rim Country’s large population of low-income and uninsured residents could make it an ideal location for a new, federally-funded community health care clinic, said Amanda Guay, director of outreach and clinical programs for North Country HealthCare.

Supervisors approve bid for women’s jail

New lockup could avert lawsuit, safety concerns

The Gila County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a $806,000 contract to build a new 45-bed women’s jail in Globe to relieve dangerous overcrowding at a cost per cell of about one-third the national average.

Creating jobs in Arizona’s 15th congressional district

The Obama administration recently released data assessing the progress of the economic stimulus bill that took effect earlier this year. According to the administration, the measure is a great success.

Strange political tale of two roads

Wait a minute. Let us get this straight.

Hum of holidays all around the Rim

It may be only the first week of December, but the hum of the holidays can be heard loud and clear all through the Rim Country. Come out from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4 for the First Friday festivities on Main Street and a special program at Julia Randall Elementary School.

Wednesday, December 2

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 31, Happy Days at the Winchester Saloon

When the Winchester Saloon burned down just before Halloween in 1997, it brought a rush of memories to old-timers. This spot, at the foot of the old Pine Road (today’s McLane Road), had been the social center of the community from the late 19th century. The saga began when Guy Barkdoll built a dance hall, a livery stable and an adobe house on the site. The hall was the only place in town large enough to accommodate community events, and it was used not only for Saturday night dances, but also for funerals, weddings, school plays and carnivals.

Celebrate the season

Whether entertaining a large group, or hosting a small gathering, holiday cooks can showcase their culinary flair with a sumptuous spread of starters and sides. And, with timesaving ingredients, such as cream soups, store-bought mashed potatoes and prepared pastry sheets, it’s a cinch to complement the main dish with appetizers and side dishes that look and taste elegant. Using these simple recipes, holiday hosts can impress family and friends and still have time to enjoy the party.

Got to go back to Alaska

Three years ago we took our first cruise, a seven-night Alaska southbound. We were hooked, not only on cruising, but also on Alaska.

Ringing In Your Ears

In addition to all the wonderful hymns about Christmas, one of my favorite, “non hymn” Christmas songs is “Carol of the Bells.” It often reminds me of the Christmas celebrations at my church growing up.

A cost-effective heating alternative

This is the time of year when home improvement and hardware stores begin to advertise the season’s super-duper deals on the newest and most modern, thermostatically controlled, ultra energy-efficient, electric baseboard heaters.

Have a jazzy Christmas

Pete Pancrazi, jazz guitarist and vocalist, brings jazzy Christmas sounds to Payson at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13 at the Payson Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St.

Day Hike

Spend a day taking in the beauty of Willow Springs Lake

Sometimes the simplest hike can reveal nature at its finest and a surprise or two. Walking through the ponderosa pines and breathing the forest air is one the benefits of living in the Rim Country. Miles of trails, which can take you through the pines, the desert or the red rocks, are close and an ultimate high for a photographer or anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Tuesday, December 1

Campaign to fight hunger collects $4,700

Payson’s community campaign to fight hunger is well under way with nearly $4,700 and several thousand pounds of food donated in just three weeks.

Payson council OKs next round of college talks

Joint meeting and executive session move plan to build four-year campus

Payson and Arizona State University have entered a new phase of negotiations. ASU and Payson are intent on building a four-year college campus in the next few years.

Community Almanac

Take “Time Out 2 Shop” at your favorite Thrift Store for its $1 Bag Sale on all regular clothing items (excluding boutique or western wear) every Wednesday in December.

Pine Strawberry fire board chairman should resign

As a Vietnam veteran and someone who has served our country honorably in the United States Marine Corps fighting for our civil rights, liberties and freedom of speech, I find the recent action of the Pine Strawberry Fire Board chairman utterly despicable, to say the least.

State budget makes funding programs hard

State Sen. Sylvia Allen speaks quickly, her voice tinged with frustration as she tallies the list of agencies begging for refuge from massive budget cuts.

Emergencies: Rescue, quad accident, rollover, elk crash

Tonto Rim Search and Rescue squad called on to make its 50th record-setting rescue of the year, 38 was previous record

While the majority of residents had the holiday weekend off, emergency personnel were busy in the Rim Country, responding to ATV accidents, a lost hiker, a rollover and another elk collision in Star Valley.

Selling your home during the holidays

Is the holiday season a good time to sell your home?

Bomb threat closes down Walmart for two hours Sunday

Walmart was closed for two hours Sunday night after an anonymous caller reported there was a bomb in the store.

Forest should be managed by sustainable practices

Local Democrats reached across the aisle recently and invited Supervisor Tommie Martin, a Republican, to present to them her self-proclaimed “gospel according to Tommie.” This chapter involved trees.

Teachers will suffer under new law

The Arizona Legislature and governor with House Bill 2011-Chapt. 12,49th legislature, 3rd Special Session, signed Sept. 4, will make every sleazy, corrupt third world country’s phony merit system for their teachers seem like the essence of fairness and openness in comparison to what is waiting for us in Arizona. Strong words? Consider the following:

Budget crisis: More excuses

Poor state Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Dist. 5). Poor Arizona Legislature. Everything’s so ... well ... complicated.

Social Security questions and answers

I worked for the last 10 years and I now have my 40 credits of coverage for Social Security. Does this mean that I get the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?

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Longhorn wrestlers hit the road for New Mexico

A mat baptism by fire awaits the Longhorn wrestling team when it competes Dec. 4 and 5 in the prestigious Rio Rancho Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.

Payson teams mugged in Winslow

The Payson High School boys and girls basketball teams season-opening visit to Winslow wasn’t exactly the stuff from which great memories are made.

Lady Longhorn soccer players honored for season

Lady Longhorns Kayla Francis and Becca Branstetter have been named to the prestigious All-East Region first team for their stellar performances during the recently concluded soccer season.

Tease photo

Yearbook students hope to exceed expectations

Even with a pared down staff of only four students, Payson High School’s yearbook staff said this year’s yearbook would punch the same panache as previous editions with the same quality of photos and layout and even a few extras.

Thanks for attending Country Legends concert

We would like to thank all those that attended the Country Legends concert on Nov. 21. We heard many comments of, “Great Show,” and “Glad we came.” It was a good show and for those that supported with their donations and purchasing of tickets we are grateful.

Weekend’s football scores make some fans frown

Was it the ghost of Tontozona-scorned that led to Arizona State University’s dismal 4-8 football season and crazy last-second 20-17 loss to archrival Arizona?

Blue Ridge keeps 3A state trophy in East Region

The curtain has fallen on Payson’s football reign as defending state champions.

Thanks for help with art, craft fair

Just wanted to put a big thank you in the letters to the editor for you and your staff! We appreciate you helping us by putting our notice for the Mazatzal Casino Arts and Crafts Fair in the Roundup. We had a wonderful turnout and everyone had a good time.

Where is the trust?

Our state is in horrible financial condition. Social services have been cut, school budgets have been slashed, and rest areas have been closed. We need to not only reduce expenditures in Arizona, but we also need to increase revenue to meet the needs of a state with a growing population.

Tease photo

Western wear entrepreneur settles in Payson

After spending 12 years on the trail chasing rodeos from town to town to sell western hats, Bob Judson has settled his business down, appropriately enough in Payson, home of the world’s oldest continuous rodeo.

Artwork sales will benefit St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank

An art series of praying children is now available to help the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank in the Rim Country area. These graceful images of 21 praying children with their message of faith and hope in an uncertain world, are being sold as sets of note cards, with the profits going to the food bank.

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 31

Open enrollment for Medicare continues only until Dec. 31. During open enrollment, people in Medicare have the option to add, drop or change prescription drug and health care plans for 2010.

Disappointed with Swiss Village Lighting event

My family and I attended the Swiss Village Lighting on Friday evening, as we have for about the last 20 years, wow, what a disappointment! In previous years business were very friendly and neighborly and enjoyed visiting with locals and visitors alike, offering hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, cheese and crackers, some even offered wine to the adults who wanted it, this year there were very few businesses who offered anything, mostly cider and and a few did offer cookies or crackers, but we never did see any hot chocolate except for one wagon that was actually selling it!

Tease photo

New Christmas tree

A gift plus a crane plus a big hole equal a new town Christmas tree.

Methods for heart attack treatments challenged

New research shows shift in oxygen mask used by paramedics could significantly increase survival

Recent research suggests Payson’s paramedics could save lives if they changed the way they give oxygen to people who have suffered a heart attack.

Earliest known Christmas card dates back to 1843

December — the month of short days when the sun lies abed late in the morning and hastens back to sleep before the 6 o’clock news.

E. Verde Estates goes dry due to broken water line

A broken water main left many homeowners in East Verde Estates without water Friday afternoon, before Brooke Utilities crews fixed the broken pipe.

Prescribed fire planned for the Verde Glen area this week

The Verde Glen area is slated for a 500-acre prescribed burn Wednesday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec. 4. The burn will take place east of Whispering Pines and south of Control Road 64.