Forest Visitors Urged To Pack Out Garbage

PINE/STRAWBERRY HAPPENINGS

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Normally, we try to avoid places like Fossil Creek on the weekends, but a baptism coupled with the intense heat got us down there last Saturday. As it turned out we found a great “new” swimming hole and managed to have an awesome day cooling off in the crystal pools away from the mobs. Surprisingly, there were Forest Service personnel and sheriff’s deputies giving tickets to folks who somehow managed to miss the no parking signs or felt it necessary to park in the middle of the already narrow road, and as much as I despise over regulation — it was actually nice to see them reining in the more grievous offenders. It seems that some folks just don’t get it that they aren’t the only folks on the planet.

In spite of the gorgeous spot we were blessed to visit for the day, we ended up packing out a large garbage bag of someone else’s trash. How anyone could go to such a beautiful place, surrounded by clean, crystal clear water, in an idyllic setting and leave mounds of trash everywhere astounds me.

We had a similar experience at the East Verde recently as well, and once again I just want to remind folks to pack their garbage out so everyone can continue to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

Water meeting

With four former board members in attendance, the last PSWID board meeting was bound to have some lively moments. While Chairman Bill Haney managed to keep the public speaking forum civil, the informal jabbing in the audience became a bit heated at times. It’s unfortunate that some folks refuse to acknowledge that debate can be a good thing if handled civilly, while name-calling, stepping outside the bounds of meeting protocol, and personal vendettas should be left outside the public arena. At one point Chairman Haney actually had to ask a couple of folks to take their dispute outside if they felt the need to continue. Because my 13-year-old daughter was present, I spent a lot of time afterward explaining that there was indeed a protocol to public meetings and that in the heat of the moment, some folks had definitely stepped outside of those bounds.

The board unanimously passed the proposed budget and stated that the private talks with Brooke Utilities board members continue. According to Mr. Haney, although details cannot be disclosed at this time, the talks are progressing in a “positive” manner.

If you are new to the area, as I am, having only lived in Pine for a little over three years now, I encourage you to visit the Rim Country Water Web site to get a comprehensive overview of the history of Pine’s (and more recently Strawberry’s) water issues. The Web site is www.rimcountrywater.org. Simply click on the history/background link and you will find information going back over several years.

Meanwhile, we have been blessed with a bit of rain, and hope that the monsoons continue to cool things off and fill our rain barrels. As of Tuesday, July 21, Pine remains on Stage 3 water conservation, while Strawberry is at Stage 2.

Back to school

It’s hard to believe, but the first day of school for Pine-Strawberry students kindergarten through eighth-grade begins Wednesday, July 29. The kids will get early release at 1:30 p.m. that day to help ease the transition.

The students will be bringing home re-enrollment packages that first week which should be updated and returned to the office as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, the school will host its “Celebrate School” night from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the gym. Parents will have an opportunity to meet teachers and other staff as well as visit their children’s classrooms that evening.

Screening for preschoolers (ages 3 or 4), will take place on Thursday and Friday, July 30 and 31. Enrollment papers must be completed before screening takes place and you will need to bring your child’s birth certificate, Social Security card and shot records with you. Preschool classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 12 from 8 to 11 a.m. and bus transportation is available for students living in the Pine/Strawberry area.

For students in fifth- through eighth-grades wishing to participate in school sports, physicals will be given on Wednesday, Aug. 5 starting at 1 p.m. Parents and students will need to complete and sign the sports forms. The physicals will cost $15 (checks should be made out to the Pine Strawberry School), and will be given by Lynne Vigil who is an NP from Banner Health. This is the only day that the physicals will be given at the school. If you choose to have your family physician do your child’s physical, you may pick up a form from the office. The sports form must be returned to Athletic Director Megan Ward before the student is allowed to attend practice or participate in any games.

Hope you all have an opportunity to visit one of our many beautiful lakes, creeks, or other natural wonders this week. The folks of Pine and Strawberry welcome you to our communities!

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