Water From The Sky And In Our Wells

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Tom Brossart photo

After spending Sunday at Fossil Creek, the Smith family returned home to find the dark clouds that have been building up every afternoon in Pine and Strawberry were finally sharing their heat-relieving, refreshing rain with the two communities.

Well it was another great weekend and probably the best news of all for the folks in Pine and Strawberry was the rainfall we received.

I was beginning to get a bit jealous, after my son, who works for Pine Ice reported significant rain in both Payson and Tonto Basin, while we sat watching clouds build up only to pass us by. After spending Sunday afternoon in beautiful Fossil Creek trying to beat the heat, we drove up the mountain to find dark clouds and finally, refreshing rain. Let’s hope that was the beginning of those heat-relieving monsoons we so desperately need!

Who would have thought that the week following the 4th of July would see the communities of Pine and Strawberry still sitting on a Stage 1 water conservation measure and the tank levels recovering from a low of 84 percent July 5 to 97 percent capacity by July 10? While a wet winter surely helped, much of this success is due to the efforts of Schaffer Water Management, who has been busy making critical repairs to pipes, pumps and other equipment that had fallen into a state of major disrepair. Their efforts have gained us approximately 50 to 60 gallons of water per minute according to several board members I recently spoke with. While the PSWID board has hit its share of bumps since acquiring the system, no one can deny that the process of improving the system is finally being addressed. While the new rate structure will undoubtedly affect us all, we are no longer subject to arbitrary, mandatory water hauling fees coupled with the inability to actually use water. There are no easy answers to the water issues that Pine and Strawberry have faced for decades, but for the first time in many years we are seeing some promising results.

The re-paving project through the heart of Pine and north to the Mogollon Rim has begun in full force. Pine was a mess this week with delays, road closures, and the inability to get around to desired locations easily — but I guess when all is said and done we’ll be thankful for the improvements. For now, plan accordingly!

The annual meeting of the Pine-Strawberry Medical Clinic Board of Directors will be held tomorrow, July 17, at 10 a.m., at the clinic. The board is currently looking for two new members, one to serve a two-year term, and the other for a three-year term. Most board meetings take place on the third Monday of the month, at 5:30 p.m. — the board’s function is to maintain a provider as well as the clinic facilities. If you are interested in serving on the board or have questions about the board, please contact Linda Coglan, board president, at (928) 970-1086, or better yet, attend the meeting.

Also taking place tomorrow between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. is the “Make a Splash” reading program’s Open House and Art Show at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library. Stop in and see the diverse display of arts and crafts made by the program’s participants. There will be refreshments served, so this is a perfect time to stop by and see the wonderful fruit of the children’s program at the library.

The Pine-Strawberry School students from Pre-K through the eighth-grade will be starting classes on Wednesday, July 28 this year. In the past, the Pre-K group started a week later, so parents please make note of this change. Although the students will be starting their school year earlier than in the past, they’ll be heartened to know that their first day is also an early release day. Pre-K releases at 11 (as always), while K-8 will be released at 1:30 p.m.

Celebrate School Night is scheduled from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 11 at the school gym. There will be a free spaghetti dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria for all who wish to attend the event. They will be serving until 6:15 p.m. or until they run out of food depending on which comes first!

The Celebrate School Night is a great opportunity for parents and students to meet the teachers and other staff members from the school, including new teacher Mrs. Kirsten Sharp who has come from Colorado to teach Pre-K. Nancy Donaldson, who is a longtime Strawberry resident will be the new fifth-grade teacher this year. She has substituted for a number of years, so many of the students may already be familiar with her. There have also been some teaching assignment changes including Mrs. Margaret Bullard moving to the fourth-grade, Mrs. Diane Ludwig moving to the third-grade, and Mrs. Candi Paine moving to the second-grade. Most of the moves are a result of Ms. Judy Hunter, who has taught at the school for 23 years, retiring from the profession. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Also, the terms of two board members will expire on Dec. 31. If anyone is interested in running for one of the seats, please call the school at (928) 476-3283, or stop by the office for information on how to have your name placed on the November general election ballot. The deadline for having all paperwork submitted to the Gila County School Superintendent’s Office is Aug. 9.

That’s it for the upcoming events in Pine and Strawberry. Have a great week!

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