What’S The Best Thing About Rim Country?

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Sometimes, counting your blessings is a snap. Take Monday night when 350 people showed up for our Best of Rim Country celebration of the best little town on the planet.

Count heads and we’ve counted our blessings. Now add all of you — the newspaper readers who voted on their best-just-about-everything.

So we got to throw a little party for our favorite people — the best barber, dentist, doctor, cop, firefighter, accountant, server, hairdresser, veterinarian — you name it — in the best town anywhere.

What a great bunch, blowing off a little steam and congratulating one another on getting through another tough year.

The evening gave us all a chance to think about the personal and professional relationships that have sustained us through these past 12 months of hard sledding.

We all hoped at this time last year that we’d hit bottom and things would turn. Instead, most businesses in town got dragged along the bottom month after month — surviving with humor, creativity, persistence and a commitment to their customers and this community.

So, now we’re hoping the worm will turn this year — and the recovery will finally take root. Our hopes include that ASU will sign on the dotted line. We’ll start construction on the Blue Ridge pipeline. Carpenters will resume building houses. And the businesses that have survived on grit and knotted shoestrings will reap the benefits. And most importantly, the community as a whole will be an ever better place to call home.

But in the meantime, we hope you’ll grab the special section in today’s newspaper and take a look at the recommendations of your fellow Roundup readers — whether you want to grab a burger, get a massage, find a doctor, pull a tooth or meet someone special. (Hint: It’s either the Buffalo Bar and Grill or church — how’s that for a range?)

In the meantime, we’ll offer our heartfelt concurrence with our readers’ answer to the most illuminating of questions. What’s the best thing about living in Rim Country?

That’s easy, said our readers: It’s the people.

Tough decisions

The Payson school board and its administrators are facing difficult decisions; decisions where there is no master’s degree worth of training to reach out for help.

Many school districts in Arizona went through years of growth, of expansion, of a need for more classroom space and more teachers.

In Payson, that growth started declining years ago and during the past two years it has hit the district hard. The state’s bank account went from black to red in recent years causing dramatic cuts to education. Federal stimulus money helped last year, but even that is now gone for the most part.

So the Payson school district board and its administrators are faced with a declining enrollment, less money and too many buildings and classrooms for the number of students.

The district’s administrators indicated last year that many problems were on the horizon for the district and now it is decision time.

Last night, the school board went forward with the decision they had been talking about for weeks — closing Frontier Elementary School.

It was not necessarily a popular decision — losing a community school close to a student’s home will cause problems. But the district is facing the financial realities and has gone forward with the closure.

Now comes even tougher decisions.

How to reconfigure the two remaining elementary schools to handle the Frontier students. Which school gets K-2 or 3-5 grade students? Teachers will get switched around and students will have to learn about their new schools and fellow students.

The biggest decisions, though, involve teachers.

We hope the district will review every possible cut to keep as many teachers in the district as possible and to keep classroom sizes as small as possible.

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