News Briefs


Man crashes vehicle into tree

Authorities believe a man that crashed his vehicle into a tree at his home Sunday was likely drinking.

Ross Lee Tucker called police about 3:20 p.m. Sunday to report he had stuck a tree at his home in Christopher Creek, said Gila County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tim Scott.

When paramedics arrived, they determined Tucker was seriously injured and he was flown to a Valley hospital.

Scott said it appears Tucker was driving under the influence of alcohol when the wreck occurred, however, charges are pending upon completion of lab results from blood testing.

Appliance and metal discard event at landfill Saturday

The Buckhead Mesa Landfill will coordinate an old appliance “free day” from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2.

This will include refrigerators, freezers, washers, dishwashers, dryers, portable trash compactors and water heaters. Other metal items will also be accepted.

The landfill fee for the weight of all appliances and the freon from the refrigerators and freezers will be waived by Gila County. As the county will handle the freon removal from the appliances, please do not tamper with the freon lines and no trash of any kind in the appliances.

All other debris will be regular price, so leave yourself easy access to remove these metal items and appliances so the landfill personnel can exclude the weight from any other trash that you may bring to the landfill to dispose of.

This is a great opportunity to get rid of old, unwanted appliances and piles of metal from local residences for free.

Landfill hours are from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., closed Sunday and holidays. The landfill will be open on Columbus Day, Oct. 11.

For more information, call the landfill at (928) 476-3350.

Sheriff’s K-9 sniffs out drugs

A sheriff’s K-9 sniffed out more than 500 pounds of marijuana hidden in a false compartment of a travel trailer east of Payson on Highway 260.

Omas Alonso Martinex Jasso and Francisca Urquijo were arrested and booked into the Gila County Jail Sept. 16 on multiple drug charges after Gila County Sheriff’s Deputy L. Kerszykowski discovered large bundles of marijuana stashed in a travel trailer thanks to his K-9 partner, Roman, who sniffed out the hidden drugs.

Kerszykowski was on patrol near the Kohl’s Ranch area around 10 p.m. when he stopped the suspects Ford dually towing a 24-foot box trailer for a routine traffic violation.

During the stop, Kerszykowski became suspicious after talking with Jasso and Urquijo, who claimed they were heading to Wichita, Kan. with a load of furniture, said Gila County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Scott.

Roman sniffed the truck and trailer and alerted Kerszykowski to the trailer.

“The truck and trailer were taken to the Gila County shop in Payson where a search was conducted and a false compartment was located in the front of the trailer,” Scott said. “Upon accessing the compartment, 502 pounds of marijuana was located.”

The truck and trailer were seized along with approximately $1,500 in cash.

Legislative District 5 Clean Elections debate set for Oct. 5

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission will host a debate for candidates in Legislative District 5 at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5. The debate will be at the Best Western Payson Inn located at 801 N. Beeline Highway in Payson.

Legislative District 5 covers a large area of eastern Arizona including Globe, Holbrook, Miami, Payson, Pinetop-Lakeside, Safford, Show Low, St. Johns, Thatcher and Winslow.

Candidates who choose to participate in Clean Elections are required to attend the debate unless they are running unopposed.  Candidates not running with Clean Elections funding also may take part in the debate, but their attendance is not mandatory.

The debates will be video taped and made available for those unable to attend in person. Voters can view the debates on the Clean Elections Web site at

The 2010 general election will take place Nov 2. Early voting begins Oct 7.

Payson school district solar project started

Two weeks ago Kennedy Partners, the solar project development team, formally announced their finance partner, NRG Solar. This announcement coincided with the official start of construction at three of the four school sites chosen for the solar project; Payson High School, Rim Country Middle School and Payson Elementary School.

The solar shade structures will provide more than 80 percent of the power required at these sites and at Julia Randall Elementary School when they are complete in mid to late December.

This project is entirely financed by NRG Solar with no capital outlay required by the district.

Although the community has been used to construction phasing and changes over the last few years with the bond program, the team would like to make the students, staff, and parents aware of upcoming changes in parking due to the implementation of this project.

The change that will impact everyone the most will be at the main entrance parking lot at Payson High School. This parking will be closed during the erection of the shade structures to ensure the safety of students and staff.

This closure will commence immediately following fall break and continue until the project is complete in early December.

Staff parking will be moved to the parking area near the dome and students will park in the lots north of the football field.

Although temporarily inconvenient, the end result will be shaded parking, solar power, and a wonderful educational opportunity for the school and community.

P-S firefighters are going pink

Instead of the traditional neon yellow garb, Pine-Strawberry firefighters are going pink.

For the month of October, all Pine-Strawberry Fire Department employees will wear pink shift shirts to promote breast cancer awareness, said Stacy Figueroa, with PSFD.

“Show your support by stopping by either station and purchasing a pink awareness T-shirt sponsored by the P-S Firefighters Association for $15,” Figueroa said.

All proceeds will go toward the Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation.

Shirts go on sale Friday, Oct. 1 along with pink bracelets.

Any questions, call (928) 476-4272 and ask/leave a message for Figueroa.

Quarterly award goes to deputy 

Four times each year, the Gila County Attorney’s Office recognizes a member of the Gila County law enforcement community for superior service in the prosecution of criminal matters.

The county attorney reviews numerous recommendations, but selects the officer who at the time best illustrates an exemplary attitude and work ethic. Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores’ office recognized Globe Police Department Officer Danny Rice as the Officer of the Quarter on Sept. 21, at the Gila County Supervisor’s board meeting.

This award was presented in recognition of Rice’s service, professional attitude, and assistance to the county attorney’s office.

Rice began working with the Globe Police Department in June 2007. He graduated from Central Arizona Regional Law Officers Training Academy and has been involved in various facets of police functions that include everything from basic traffic to narcotics investigations.

While Rice has been doing an outstanding job at the Globe Department, he is also an asset to Gila County Attorney’s Office as he assists serving all of the mental health subpoenas to the facilities in Mesa. There are statutory timelines that must be followed and met with all mental health hearings and Officer Rice takes the time, while off-duty, to serve all subpoenas at the mental health facilities that Gila County utilizes. He maintains a professional and courteous attitude and never says that he is not available to assist the county.


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