Take Time To Smell The Christmas Trees

’Tis the season ... for holiday festivities. Artists and crafters of the Pine-Strawberry Arts & Crafts Guild celebrated another year of crafting and festivals on the Rim at a Christmas luncheon on Dec. 10 in Pine. There were lots of door prizes to go around, and lasagna catered by the Pine Deli. The group looks forward to welcoming new members in 2012.

Photo by Andy Towle. |

’Tis the season ... for holiday festivities. Artists and crafters of the Pine-Strawberry Arts & Crafts Guild celebrated another year of crafting and festivals on the Rim at a Christmas luncheon on Dec. 10 in Pine. There were lots of door prizes to go around, and lasagna catered by the Pine Deli. The group looks forward to welcoming new members in 2012.


On Dec. 2, the Pine-Strawberry School had its Christmas tree auction with trees decorated by each class.

The decorating themes chosen by the students ranged from supporting the troops to breast cancer, recycling and “The Nutcracker.”

Auctioneer, Dean Peterson, did a fantastic job for the third year, and was assisted by student council members.

The Christmas trees as well as cards and ornaments created by students brought in $2,360 to help students with classroom supplies and field trips.

The school is grateful to the community for supporting the auction for the past 10 years.

Pine Strawberry School goes green

Exciting news from Principal Michael Clark. The school district is getting solar power thanks to a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, through the Arizona School Facilities Board (SFB) to install a 30 KW photovoltaic solar power generating system. It will provide about one-third to one-half of the district’s electrical power needs.

The deadline for contractors to submit bids is Dec 21. The SFB is handling all paperwork, although the school district’s governing board will select a contractor and award the bid. This will hopefully happen at the Jan. 9 board meeting.

Only contractors that are on SFB’s approved contractor list are eligible to submit quotes. Construction of the system must be completed by March 30.

It is expected that the solar panel array will be placed at the south end of the west playground.

Free Christmas dinner

The second annual free community Christmas dinner hosted by the Senior Center Affairs Foundation, will be Christmas Day at 2 p.m. in the Bruce Thompson Dining Room (behind the Thrift Store). Call 476-2151 or 476-4633 to reserve your place.

Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library

The library in Pine is selling See’s Candy as well as having a See’s Candy Basket raffle. Their Tree of Giving fund-raiser is also taking place.

You can help the library obtain new books and raise funds for programs that enrich our community. Make the library events part of your holiday.

GED preparation in Pine

Sometimes circumstances prevent a person from completing high school. For these individuals, receiving their GED gives them a chance to start over, attain a sense of fulfillment, and gain self-confidence. It can also open up better job opportunities.

The Rim Country Literacy Program (RCLP) is offering free GED classes in Pine for adults over age 16. Adults take a pre-test to determine their skill gaps and are assigned a tutor who works one-on-one with them.

Marilyn of RCLP told me that most often students need help in mathematics and writing.

The classes are at the Pine Strawberry School on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The seven-hour GED exam is offered every other month in Payson by the Gila County Department of Education.

This year the RCLP has helped 11 students pass their GED. They also offer English language instruction, computer literacy, and will soon begin a financial literacy program.

For more information, contact them at 468-7257 from Monday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.


Community-spirited business owners donated Christmas trees for the annual Pine Strawberry School Christmas Tree Auction fund-raiser held at the school Dec. 2. Each class decorated a tree in themes chosen by the students, which were auctioned off to raise funds for school supplies and field trips. Some of the creative themes chosen were turtles, cancer awareness, support the troops, crystals, recycle, old-fashioned Christmas, Toy Story, Nutcracker, Hawaiian and icicles.

Writers inspired by Rim Country

To writers inspired by snow and thick forested mountains, the landscape of Arizona Rim Country holds vast appeal. Beloved writer, Zane Grey, found it the ideal place to settle in and spin tales of the frontier.

It’s inspiring to see the cabin (a replica of the original, which burned in a wildfire) at Payson’s Green Valley Park, and to see the environment from which he penned his words.

Today many creative people call Rim Country home. The breathtaking beauty makes it a Mecca for artists and photographers. The peaceful serenity and connection with nature makes it the ideal place in which to meditate, glean inspiration, and write.

Poet, Judy Mae Moffett McClellan, and author, Candy Marie Bridges, are two ordinary Pine women who have written extraordinary books.

Judy Mae Moffett McClellan read her first Zane Grey book at age 8 and was captivated by the wildness of the West. Together with her husband of 54 years, Arnie, they have explored every nook and cranny of the rivers and canyons of the Southwest.

Judy’s collection of poems entitled “Yesterday’s Echoes and Tomorrow’s Promises” takes the reader on a poetic journey of her life from early years on a farm, falling in love, and tales of adventure — including an exciting, firsthand account of riding the river rafts on the Colorado River.

Candy Marie Bridges has just released a wonderful memoir, “Meet Me in the Mountains,” in which she shares her personal faith journey and leads readers through a lifetime filled with joys and challenges that culminates here in Pine.

She started the Breath of Life Retreat Center as a tribute after the untimely and sudden death of her husband. The Retreat Center offers individuals and groups a welcoming environment of clean mountain air and serenity in which to enjoy wildlife, home-cooked meals, and activities.

Through her book and the Retreat Center, Candy has forged a path to bring hope and inspiration to others. As so many Rim dwellers, she shares a giving spirit that reaches out to others.

In her book, “Meet Me in the Mountains,” Candy Marie Bridges encourages readers who feel life is too much to bear. She writes candidly about private heartaches and meeting unforeseen challenges head-on.

For more information on the book or the Retreat Center, you can visit her Web site at http://www.CandyMarieBridges.com.

Take time to smell the Christmas trees

As I sign off, it’s looking to be a beautiful White Christmas in Strawberry and Pine. I hope you are enjoying many magical holiday moments.

Make it special for a senior by stopping by Edward Jones Investment and picking an angel from the Senior Angel Tree by Dec. 19.

I chose two and can’t wait to dig out of this snow and find something to brighten their Christmas. Whatever you do, take time this week to smell the Christmas trees.

Send your Pine Strawberry happenings to haffordjoy1@gmail.com or call (602) 790-0248.


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