Many Groups Help Our Communities

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I hope that by the time this column is in print we will have received some much-needed moisture in our region. The weather genies promised an exceptionally wet year due to the La Niña phenomenon, but so far it hasn’t materialized.

I am enjoying my afternoon walks though; it’s been so warm I usually end up having to shed my jacket. There sure have been a lot of deer in the area lately — they seem to be enjoying the warmer temperatures too.

Genealogy course

The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library will host an introductory genealogy course from 10 a.m. until noon, Wednesday March 10 and 17 from in the Library Activity Room. The class fee is $20 for both classes and will be taught by Judy Voran. Registration ends Wednesday, Feb. 10, so call the library soon to reserve your spot. The library number is (928) 476-3678.

Guardrails

ADOT has posted a notice that they will indeed begin installing guardrails in certain areas along the highway between Pine and Payson. According to their notice, work was to begin on Jan. 11. I make the drive pretty frequently and haven’t seen any activity as of the time of this writing, but it is certainly welcome news for those who frequently drive the stretch between the two towns.

Community groups

If you are looking for a way to get involved in the community, there are several groups that meet regularly to accomplish various goals. Following is a list of some that I am aware of:

Community Educational Recreational and Civic Association of Strawberry and Pine (CERCA) is a blanket organization consisting of many local groups. They are the place to go to learn about what is happening in our community and they are responsible for renting the Cultural Hall/Community Center for events. CERCA meets on the second Monday of each month at 3 p.m. at the Bruce Thompson Senior Dining Hall.

Strawberry Elite is a group of folks who provide temporary assistance to those who experience sudden or unexpected needs in our community. They also provide on-going funds to the Pine/Strawberry School for children who cannot afford lunches. They meet on the first Thursday of each month at the Bruce Thompson Senior Dining Hall (behind the thrift store) at 6 p.m.

The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee is dedicated to ensuring that our communities are as safe as possible from catastrophic fire danger. They were instrumental in starting the brush pickup program, solicit grants and other funds to maintain our fire breaks, and are currently spearheading the re-seeding project which introduces native wild grasses to areas that have been cleared of invasive species. The PSFR committee meets at 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month in the Bruce Thompson Senior Dining Hall.

SCAF stands for the Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation. This organization provides nutritious meals to our senior citizens at reasonable prices, through the local Meals on Wheels program, and they run the Pine Thrift Store. They meet on the fourth Monday of each month at 12:30 p.m. at the Bruce Thompson Senior Dining Hall in Pine.

The Pine Strawberry Business Committee meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Pine Strawberry Fire Station on Hardscrabble Road. Their purpose is to help promote events that benefit the businesses in our community. They were instrumental in initiating the first Festival of Lights this year.

Take Pride Project is an organization dedicated to beautifying our communities. They are currently landscaping the area in front of the Pine post office and repairing a sign that was vandalized in the community. They also worked with several local groups on the ramada project. They meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Bruce Thompson Senior Dining Hall.

The Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad is a group of volunteers who are dedicated to assisting those who find themselves in trouble while enjoying our wilderness areas. They meet on the second Thursday of each month at the Payson Public Library Meeting Room at 7 p.m.

The Friends of the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library help support the library through various activities and fund-raisers. They meet on the fourth Monday of each month at 1 p.m. in the Pine library activity room.

The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) recently purchased the water operations for Pine and Strawberry from Brooke Utilities. They are dedicated to bringing adequate water supplies to our communities. The PSWID board meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Cultural Hall at the Community Center.

The Pine Strawberry Food Bank distributes food to community members in need on the first Tuesday of each month from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m. at the Cultural Hall.

The Pine Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society is dedicated to collecting and preserving material and information about the historical and archaeological heritage of Pine, Strawberry,] and the surrounding areas. Membership and volunteer applications are available on their Web site: www.pinestrawhs.org.

The DPS Quilt Angels are a group of individuals who love quilting and use their gifts to bless the state of Arizona by supplying every single DPS officer with a comfort quilt to be used for those who have been traumatized in some way. The Angels are also very active in their local community by supporting many organizations in need through such fund-raisers as the annual Tellabration Celebration.

The Strawberry Patchers is another group that loves quilting and helping out in our community. They provide numerous local organizations with thousands of dollars each year through various fund-raising events. They generally meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month in the library activity room at 9:30 a.m. Their Web site is www.strawberrypatchers.com.

The Riff Raff Club is a group of volunteers who help provide for those who are experiencing hardships in our community. They accomplish this through various fund-raisers like their popular Riff Raff Rifle Raffle. They meet “only when necessary” and if you would like to know more about the group you can contact Jim Maclean at 476-3250.

If you have an interest in helping the children in our community, two seats are available for the Pine Strawberry Elementary School District Governing Board. The election will be held during the November 2010 general election and the term becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2011. Anyone who is interested in learning more about these positions and what they entail can contact Superintendent Mike Clark at (928) 476-3283.

I suspect that I may have neglected to list some folks, and indeed if that is the case, I apologize and encourage you to contact me at (928) 476-3561 to clarify your group’s information. You may also e-mail me at smithster5@msn.com.

Thanks so much to all of the people who make Pine and Strawberry such a wonderful place to live!

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