As of this writing (Sept. 1) the folks from Whispering Pines have still not been allowed to return to their homes due to the Water Wheel Fire. Having dodged our own bullet earlier this summer, I think I speak for the majority of folks in Pine and Strawberry when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with you. There is nothing quite like having your sense of security ripped right out from under you — especially due to utter carelessness. I hope that by the time this makes print, our neighbors will be safely home again.
It is hard not to get a little hot under the collar at the complete lack of common sense displayed by some visitors to our forests. If you spend any time at all in our wilderness areas then I’m sure that you’ve put out smoldering campfires left by folks who either don’t know any better or just plain don’t care. Just last week my husband was doing some scouting near Haigler Creek when he spotted an abandoned campfire with a huge log that had reignited. I’ve talked to several people this week who report that they’ve stumbled on the same type of thing more frequently than you would imagine. I can’t help but wonder how many times we’ve been saved from disaster simply because someone happened to find and douse a fire before it has a chance to escape its fire ring.
With Labor Day weekend upon us I would like to implore our visitors — please, please use the utmost caution while enjoying our beautiful forests. The surface ashes of a campfire may appear to be out, but unless you have stirred it thoroughly and doused it through and through, it may still hold an ember or two that could escape and cause untold grief and heartache to members of our communities. The Water Wheel Fire spread so quickly many folks didn’t have time to go home and get their personal items or pets. Can you imagine the fear and frustration, not to mention the feeling of helplessness that this situation has caused them?
I guess while I’m at it I might also mention once again that forest users must pack out their own garbage. There is simply no way that our limited Forest Service personnel can play garbage men too. If we all strive to leave our campsites cleaner (and safer) than when we arrived then maybe we can continue to enjoy these wonderful natural resources for many years to come.
All of Pine and Strawberry are looking forward to a busy holiday as folks arrive from near and far to participate in the many activities scheduled over the Labor Day weekend.
Pine Library Friends are kicking off the fun by hosting a huge book sale that begins on Friday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library’s activity room. The sale continues through the entire weekend, opening at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and running all day long. Don’t forget to enter the drawing to win a great “Book Nook Gift Basket” by purchasing a raffle ticket at the sale. All proceeds from the raffle help fund the many ongoing events at the library.
Come to Pine early on Saturday or Sunday and enjoy an all you can eat pancake breakfast co-sponsored by the Pine Fire Department and Strawberry’s Elite. Breakfast will be served both days from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. in front of the Cultural Hall which is adjacent to the library activity room. For $5 you can enjoy as many pancakes and sausages as you can eat, plus coffee and juice. You won’t find a better breakfast deal than that and it’s a great way to support our local firefighters.
Of course you’ll want to stick around for the huge Arts and Craft Show that will be taking place on Saturday, Sept. 5 and Sunday, Sept. 6 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. respectively. This year’s event will have at least 85 vendors selling everything imaginable for all tastes and ages. It seems that each year the festival grows and attracts even more talented folks who offer their wares at the best prices imaginable. Be sure to come early so you’ll have plenty of time to peruse the tremendous variety of items being offered. Don’t forget to try the famous Navajo tacos which help raise funds for the local Senior Center — an important resource for many folks in our community.
The Pine Library Friends will also open the newly restored original library which has been converted to an adorable gift shop. If you haven’t had a chance to see this treasured historical building, don’t miss this opportunity. Not only do they have some amazing older books on display, but they have filled the shop with wonderfully unique gifts (including some very special Christmas ornaments) for folks of all ages. The “Old Library Gift Shoppe” which is located next to the Randall House Restaurant will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The Riff Raff Club will be selling tickets for their annual Rifle Raffle at the Arts and Crafts Festival as well as at Sidewinders and the Sportsman Chalet beginning at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. It’s only a dollar per ticket or $5 for six and you have an opportunity to win some great prizes such as an Ithaca 12 gauge shotgun, a Winchester 22 caliber rifle, or a Remington 30/06 bolt action rifle with a scope. There will also be lots of camping gear, gift certificates, a load of gravel, an electric trolling motor and much, much more. The best part of this raffle is that all of the proceeds are used to purchase items for gift baskets that are distributed to needy families in our community at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Although you need not be present to win, the Riff Raff Club members have arranged for the popular band Junction 87 to play at the Sportsman Chalet from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6. The drawing will take place shortly after at 3 p.m., so be sure to head to Strawberry Sunday afternoon for some great entertainment and loads of fun.
The kids at the Pine-Strawberry Elementary School are gearing up for their annual Science Fair between Tuesday, Sept. 8 and Friday, Sept. 11. Visitors are welcome to come view the fair any of those mornings, by simply stopping by the office for a visitor’s pass before proceeding to the gym where the projects are on display.
There will also be a special Parents’ Night from 6 until 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10 at the gym. The kids always do a great job of choosing and displaying their projects, so come out and support their hard work.
If you can’t make it to the school gym to see the Science Fair projects, the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library will feature a few selected exhibits in the library for one week, from Sept. 14 through Sept. 21 as well.
That’s it for this week. Have a fun, safe Labor Day weekend enjoying the beautiful Rim Country!