Well we might have lost most of our snow during the Christmas storm, but we certainly were not lacking for moisture.
We drove in rain all the way from the West Valley to Pine and the fog along the mountain tops was thick and eerie. The wind and the rain Christmas night woke me several times as it sounded like a hurricane outside. It sure made me glad that we don’t have any dead ponderosas still standing on our property.
A few neighbors are going to have a real mess cleaning up — but they were lucky their houses were spared. There are so many good programs available to help get your yards in order — don’t wait for a catastrophe before you decide to get your brush and dead trees removed.
If you need a hand locating help for the removal you can contact Lisa Sieracki at the Pine Strawberry Fire Department at 476-4272 or Walt Smith who heads up the Pine-Strawberry Fuels Reduction program. The whole purpose of the PSFR is to ensure that our communities are not fire disasters waiting to happen. Walt’s number is 476-3587.
The folks at the Pine-Strawberry Food Bank have asked me to send out a big thank you to the communities of Pine and Strawberry for their amazing generosity during the holiday season.
Many of the local businesses put out food boxes for collection and offered incentives to their customers for bringing in items. Several organizations also gave checks to help make food and/or toy purchases. Both the DPS Quilt Angels and Strawberry Patchers made beautiful quilted gifts to distribute.
The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library and Friends of the Library held food and toy drives. Even the children at Pine-Strawberry Elementary School got into the act by holding a competition between the classes to collect needed items. Altogether the food bank was able to collect toys, quilts, pillowcases, stuffed animals, and stockings, in addition to providing abundant food boxes for all of the families in need.
This is such a testimony to the big hearts of the people in our little communities. Although there are many who are suffering the loss of income, those who were able to give did so and it has had a huge impact on numerous families. May the desire to help our neighbors continue to be our heartfelt goal in the year to come!
I know several of you are wondering why work on the ramada has seemed to come to a halt. As most of you know, the volunteers were going like gangbusters and well on their way to achieving their goal of completing the work by Thanksgiving. In fact, they had already begun the final stage of securing the metal roofing when they experienced their first blow. Up until that date, they were fortunate to receive help from a crew provided by the Department of Corrections.
The crew had helped considerably from the tear down stage until just before the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s when town organizers were informed that the crew could no longer assist with the project. Shortly after that, a local contractor agreed to supply a crew for the cost of their wages, but unfortunately, that was about the time that the first series of storms rolled in.
Since then, the weather has been less than favorable between the rain, snow, ice and wind. While everyone would like to see the ramada finished, it is certainly not worth anyone getting hurt over, so expect the volunteers to be back at it when the weather begins to cooperate.
For a project of this magnitude, the progress has been remarkable, especially when you consider it has been accomplished entirely through donations and an all-volunteer work force. If you would like to keep up on the progress, you can go to www.pinestrawberryfuelreduction.org for regular updates and some good pictures.
Another Web site that was recently launched and is full of information about the communities of Pine and Strawberry is www.psaznews.com. You will find information about various groups, meeting times and dates, and other items of interest to residents and visitors alike. I really enjoyed the site and think anyone interested in keeping up with town news will find it helpful as well.
Just a reminder that any homeschoolers who wish to participate in the free art classes sponsored by the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library should sign up as soon as possible. The first class begins at 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15 in the library activity room. There will be six classes total and enrollment is limited to 20 students. If you would like to register, simply stop by the library or call them at 476-3678.
Organizers are gearing up for the blood drive Jan. 20 at the First Baptist Church in Pine. Not only is this a very worthwhile program to participate in, everyone who donates blood will be eligible to win a large quilt donated by the Strawberry Patchers. The blood drive will take place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Well here we are into a new year. There is certainly a great amount of uncertainty in the air. Still, as I look around, I see so many reasons to be thankful. I truly hope that each one of us is able to take time to pause and focus on our many, many blessings — not the least of which is the great communities we reside in. If you are feeling disconnected and empty, I encourage you to join with one of the many wonderful groups mentioned each week in this column. You may just find that you have something of great value to contribute to your neighbors and community — that precious and worthy gift that surpasses all others — your time.