Stories for July 2011


Friday, July 29

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College plans decline for Payson graduates

Fewer than half of recent high school graduates say they’re heading for college

The number of Payson High School graduates who head off to college has declined, mirroring a disturbing statewide trend. Only 48 percent of graduates this year said they have enrolled in either two- or four-year post high school programs. That number stood at 62 percent last year and 56 percent the year before, according to figures released by Don Heizer, head guidance counselor at the high school.

Community Almanac

The Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is presenting a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament Aug. 6. Registration will be taken through Friday, July 29. The cost is $50 per team (teams are limited to three members).

Group helps Payson’s children have a better Christmas

The organization, Public Safety Christmas for Kids (PSCFK), has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit charity (a 501c3).

It is counterproductive to have Republicans in charge

Well, once again the Republicans are taking us to the brink of shutting down the government, except this time it is even more serious.

Officers losing trust of citizens

How ironic that we have two front page articles in the Roundup (Tuesday, July 19) highlighting problems of sexual crime being committed in Payson!

Thank you, golfers

Payson Area Habitat for Humanity would like to thank all those who participated and sponsored our Second Annual Golf Tournament. The event was a great success as we raised over $13,000 to help bring affordable housing to the Rim Country.

Finding the perfect pet

As I read my Friday Roundup I am saddened to find two ads for puppies for sale. In times like these when millions of homeless animals are being killed in shelters all over our country, including our local shelter, I, for one, find it disturbing that some people still find it acceptable to use little animals as a way to make money.

Medicare Part D is one of a few government programs that work

There are almost no government programs that work. They never come in under budget, please the constituents or exceed expectations, yet that is exactly the description of the Medicare Part D prescription plan.

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SuddenLink Communications increases Internet speeds in Payson

Nobody likes spotty Internet service or their cable cutting out. Payson’s newest cable provider, SuddenLink, says with increased bandwidth and infrastructure improvements, that could soon be a thing of the past.

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Christopher Creek will have potluck, BBQ this weekend

The Christopher Creek Community Potluck and Deep-Pit Barbecue will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 30. Hosted by Alex and Irma Armenta, and Rod Britain at Bud Light John and Kathy’s Place. Deep-pit barbecue will be provided. Bring a side dish and drinks and bring your friends! Limited parking, but golf carts and quads are encouraged.

Excited about the future, sobered about leaving P-S

One of the fears I had when accepting this gig of writing a weekly column, was what happens when I have nothing to write about. I keep a file of upcoming events throughout the week fed by your e-mails to me. This week there was nary an e-mail. Thus I have to think out loud about what’s on my mind. Right now what is on my mind is an impending move from Strawberry. I am excited for the future, but also sobered by what I am leaving.

Clubs and Organizations

Tai Chi and Qigong classes are offered at 9 a.m. Saturdays at the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community, 807 W. Longhorn Road. The program is especially designed for seniors 50 or older, but is beneficial for all ages. There is no charge, but donations are accepted.

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Transitioning to high school

Incoming high school freshmen get help from Link Crew

The air crackles with nervous energy as upper level students teachers and administrators wait inside the old gym at Payson High School Tuesday — outside, the largest freshman class in 10 years anxiously wait for orientation to start. “Are you ready? Let’s hear it!” Kristi Ford’s voice blares over the loudspeakers. Cheers erupt from students and faculty lined up in rows — as new students enter, they “run the gauntlet” through the center of two lines receiving yells of encouragement.

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Parts of Heber Overgaard lose power for 30 minutes

Storms of late have made for intense heavy downpours in some areas of Heber Overgaard. Standing water sometimes attaining a few inches on roadway depressions have created hazards of hydroplaning after some of these storms.

Thunder, lightning was quite scary

Were the rain gods angry the other night? The clap of thunder was a frightening noise and our doggie just about jumped out of her skin. I am not certain where it originated, possibly just east of the Village, but it sure was a scary thing! The only problem was that with all the noise and lightning strikes, there wasn’t much rain, maybe about a half-inch or less. So, how about more rain and less noise?

Music lovers have many choices this weekend

Choices, choices, choices. Should I do this or should I do that? That’s what music lovers are again faced with this weekend. This Saturday night, those who love the beat can opt for one of three different concerts that will be going on in Payson at the same time.

A beautiful breed doesn’t deserve a bad reputation

The American media has truly affected many aspects of our culture. Whether it is the way we dress or the stars we love to hate, the media has a strong influence on what we do and think. You might not realize it while you stroll down the aisles of the food store or clothing store, but images shown to you on television help form your buying habits and thinking patterns.

Like the weather, hot investments eventually cool

We’re in the “Dog Days” of summer — traditionally the hottest, steamiest time of year. But it will eventually begin to cool down. Nature isn’t alone in this heating-and-cooling pattern — you can also find evidence of it in the investment world. Specifically, today’s “hot” investments can lose their sizzle quickly, which means that, as an investor, you’ll need to take steps to avoid being left out in the cold.

America in a quandary

America is in quite the quandary! Based on the recent terrorist attacks in Norway, America should now seriously consider racial profiling.

Remove the First Amendment

In a recent letter to you, a Roundup reader tells us, in his theocratic wisdom, that First Amendment watchdog groups, atheists and others are ignorant that biblical principles and U.S. law are “basically one in the same.” He adds: “There is no separation of church and state for it is not found anywhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution ...”

Let congressmen know what you think

Our representatives in Congress are elected by the people of their districts to act as our voice in congressional matters. For the most part, members of Congress seem to forget what their responsibilities are to their constituents.

Founding Fathers were not all fervent Christians

In his recent letter Jeff Durbin suggested that America’s so-called “Founding Fathers” were a group of fervent Christians.

U.S. rapidly moving in the fiscal direction of Greece

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Greece was ruled by the late Andreas Papandreou, a firebrand anti-American Socialist who massively increased spending and debt during his years in office. It is he who many blame for today’s Greek debt crisis. Yet, despite his clear leftist ideology, even Papandreou came to acknowledge the unsustainability of his policies toward the end of his tenure.

Forest Service must honor its contract

So, imagine you need to figure out how much tax you owe the federal government. You go to the Internal Revenue Service and offer them a heck of a deal. If they will pay for a consultant and maybe an extra IRS auditor to double check the work of the consultant, you promise to pay up by April 15.

It can be hard to name life’s most exciting moment, Part II

I left off last week at the point where I was having what I count as my last exciting childhood experience: The day I decided to cross a cliff face by standing on a very narrow ledge while my hands clung to another ledge just above eye level. Trouble is, I disturbed a big old black snake sunning above me, and the snake thought it might be a good idea to peer over the edge and see what kind of nut was crossing a 100-foot-high cliff. I was the nut, of course, but not for long. I let go.

Concert group starting ticket drive for upcoming season

School starts this week, so now is the time to get connected for some great entertainment during the coming fall and winter months. Make an investment in music through the Tonto Community Concert Association and purchase a subscription for its 2011-2012 season.

Crown fires eliminate ponderosa pine forests

NAU researchers find forests may never grow back as fierce fires pump carbon into the atmosphere

The fierce forest crown fires that have charred hundreds of square miles in Arizona this summer may cause permanent changes in the forest and pump extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for decades after the fires flicker out.

Thieves use ‘smash and grab’ technique to rob jewelry store

It was only 30 seconds, but during that time, two masked thieves made off with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. For the second time, Overman Designs jewelry store is the victim of what police call a “smash and grab.” In the early hours of July 14, two suspects used a crow bar to pry open the store’s back door, at 207 E. Highway 260, run in and smash at least two glass display cases.

Games, prizes part of National Night Out activities

Crime is never fun, but have fun taking a stand against it this Saturday and Tuesday. The 28th Annual National Night Out kicks off at noon Saturday at Green Valley Park and runs until 8 p.m. Payson Police officers, along with town employees, will provide crime prevention information, free games and prizes for the whole family.

Blue Ridge pipeline tangled in red tape

Questions about not- yet-threatened species cause fresh delays in $33-million project

Already nine months behind schedule, the crucial environmental study on the Blue Ridge pipeline has hit another snag. The U.S. Forest Service has warned Payson that biologists may want to do additional studies on the impact of the 15-mile-long pipeline on several wildlife species that aren’t yet listed — but might make it onto the list by the time the pipeline gets built.

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Tears, hugs and chaos reign on first day in new school

Reorganized elementary schools brim with anxious parents, excited kids

Wednesday morning, the halls of Payson Elementary School (PES) buzzed with activity as a rush of students tested the plan to rearrange classrooms to accommodate new teachers from Frontier Elementary School (FES) and Julia Randall Elementary (JRE) and somehow find space for special services such as autism and speech. “We’re stuffed. Every closet and bit of space has been used to fit everyone,” said Principal Donna Haught.

73-year-old man found guilty of child porn

Robert Flibotte convicted on 10 counts

After a week of testimony that exposed the secrets of a once prominent community leader, it took jurors less than a day to find Robert Thomas Flibotte, 73, guilty on 10 counts of possessing child pornography. The terrible fall of one of Rim Country’s most influential Realtors played out before a courtroom packed with supporters, listening in dismay to the inexorable testimony of computer experts who detailed thousands of explicit sexual images and videos of children, some as young as 3.

Double murder spurs three Payson arrests

Drug deal gone bad in Apache Junction leads to Rim Country arrests that include former football star

Police say a drug deal turned deadly Monday in an Apache Junction motor home when at least one Payson resident opened fire on two men, killing them before fleeing back to the Rim Country. After a 12-hour search through two counties, police arrested three Payson residents Tuesday with little resistance. Police arrested Kylan Rubio, 25, of Strawberry, at his home on charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to possess and distribute narcotics and firearm violations.

Football coach remembers lessons from mentors

Byron Quinlan just finished hosting the Payson High School football camp that drew more than 500 athletes from around the state. He’s now readying himself to lead the Longhorns into the 2011 season.

PMGA spreads the wealth

The prize money was well spread around at a Payson Men’s Golf Association low gross-low net formatted tournament in which no player pocketed both closest-to-the-pin and championship bracket prize money. The tournament was played July 20 at Payson Golf Course. In low gross play, Ken Althoff took honors in A flight with a 75 and Mike Anderson’s 88 was good enough to win the B flight title.

Public Safety golf tourney slated for August

The Payson Public Safety Christmas for Kids Golf Tournament features one of the most unusual formats of all the benefit tournaments held in the Rim Country. It’s unique because three-person teams have the option the evening before the tournament of bidding at an auction to have a public safety officer become the fourth member of their squad.

Coaching staff for 2011 set

Second-year football coach Byron Quinlan has settled on his coaching staff that will lead Payson High’s three teams — freshmen, jayvee and varsity — into their first year of competition in the new division-section configuration rather than the conference-region alignment that had been used for decades.

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Terrific trio of Rim Country swimmers pace Valley team

Superlative efforts churned out by Payson swimmers Julie Gibson, Emily Giarrizzo and Garret Chance helped their Scottsdale-based team, Swim Neptune, win its second consecutive Arizona State Long Course Championship. The state finals were contested July 23 and 24 at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa.

Wednesday, July 27

Robert Flibotte found guilty on all child porn charges

A one time prominent Payson realtor has been found guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Three Payson residents arrested in connection with double homicide

After a mad search through two counties, police have arrested three Payson residents they say are involved in the shooting death of two men in Apache Junction Monday.

Tuesday, July 26

Council denies boost for humane society

Shelter wants more money to cover costs, but town disputes numbers

The Payson Town Council decisively rejected the Humane Society of Central Arizona’s request for a 25 percent increase in its contract for handling stray animals.

Airport users not sure they trust town

Concerned that it had violated its own procedures and voted illegally, the Payson Regional Airport Authority (PRAA) board Monday called a second meeting and a second vote to put off for at least three months a decision on turning the airport back over to the town of Payson.

Plan calls for solar cover for GCC

Similar to a system installed at Payson High School, Gila Community College campuses could soon have solar covered parking areas.

Payson council supports Tonto Apache redistricting plan

The Payson Town Council last week unanimously supported a plan put forward by the Tonto Apache Tribe to draw new district lines for the three county board of supervisor seats.

Seniors can get free GCC tuition at Globe Senior Center

Minutes after discussing open communication and more in-depth discussion, the Gila Community College board went back to its old ways.

Forest makes disc golf tourney popular with players

Tyler Matney, a two-time participant in the annual Rim Country Open Disc Golf Tournaments knows the reasons the sport is growing in popularity in Payson and around the state.

Dogs can be good citizens, too

Milton the pug, jumped into Rita’s lap as she sat in her wheelchair, looked up at her beseechingly and gave her a lick.

Plant clinic, monsoon gardening seminar set

July may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your green thumb goals on the back shelf until next spring.

Payson OKs chamber, senior center contracts

The Payson Town Council on Thursday approved new contracts with the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Payson Senior Center.

New grant helps Pine brush pick up to continue

Thanks to last-minute grant funding, the brush pick up program in the communities of Pine and Strawberry will continue.

No more jail time for Ron Johns

A 70-year-old Tonto Basin man acquitted of attempted murder will not sit another day in jail.

State warns against eating lower Tonto Creek fish

Creek along 51-long mile stretch contains fish with high mercury levels

Don’t eat bass, sunfish or catfish caught in the 51-mile stretch of Tonto Creek that starts one mile south of Bear Flat and extends all the way to Roosevelt Lake, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality warned residents.

SV says councilors will no longer serve on town commissions

Concerned about future conflicts of interest, Star Valley councilors will no longer serve on town commissions.

Trial for man charged with having child porn expected to end soon

The trial for a man accused of harboring hundreds of images and videos of child pornography on his computer and portable storage devices is under way.

Has Rim Country economy finally ‘turned the corner’?

Payson’s economic coordinator sees hope in rise in building permits, projects in the pipeline

Payson has had a “good year” and has “turned the corner” Economic Development Coordinator Mike Vogel assured the town council on Thursday.

Some Valley buyers report sticker shock over home prices

Back in the mid-1980s, before there was gray hair on my head, my wife and I went to a car dealership to purchase a new car.

To stand up straight again

How you stand and hold yourself, not only makes a difference to the way you look — but more importantly, the way your body feels. Poor posture can lead to a wide variety of problems such as chronic backache, headache and even repetitive strain injury. Lower back pain is a common consequence of poor posture.

Holding the spending line

Money — “More of it please” — seems to be the cry of nearly every organization and government agency.

Communication with committees is important

Communication has always been a problem for committees or commissions that a town council creates. But the problem has never been too much communication.

Averting the fiscal crisis — why cut, cap and balance is needed

It is no secret we have a spending crisis. Far too long, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have spent trillions more per year than we have, leading to staggering deficits and long term debt. But this isn’t a partisan problem. This is an Ameri­can problem.

ADEQ says it did not stiff Payson

I am writing in response to the July 15, story headlined “State sticks Payson with Superfund cleanup costs.”

Traveling FS 512 is dangerous, improvements would be welcome

I looked up the “Desert to the Tall Pines,” FS 512, the Web page mentioned that the residents of Young were mostly retired folks who really are not interested in improvements on FS 512.

What is the source of mercury

So, mercury has invaded our favorite local fishing spots and the public is being warned as to what quantities of fish they should eat.

Community Almanac

Gila Community College presents a free 5-week seminar, “A Look at Psychology in the Movies.”

Old coach keeps eye on Rim Country sports

Those who knew former Payson High School principal, athletic director and baseball coach Tom Meck during his tenure in the Rim Country fondly remember him as a man who could spin fables, jokes and tales with the best of storytellers.

NFHS addresses bat issues

The National Federation of State High School Associations made some significant rule changes at its annual convention held July 6 in Indianapolis, Ind.

‘B’ squad surprises with silver medal win

If there is a given in the Lady Longhorn volleyball program, it’s that the 2011 roster will be unusually deep sporting a bevy of players capable of performing on the varsity level.

Football coach’s wife paces alumni to win

Today, the most renowned athlete in the Quinlan family is not former Longhorn basketball coach Jim Quinlan or his son, Byron, now the PHS head football coach and a former three-sport star at Payson High.

Friday, July 22

SV council dog paddles in a sea of water questions

Should Star Valley trust Brooke Utilities? Buy its own water wells? Buy into the Blue Ridge pipeline? Or do nothing at all?

New college district’s plan might shift power to north

The county-appointed redistricting committee this week quickly agreed on several new maps that would craft new Gila Community College District boundaries, in sharp contrast to the extended wrangling about new boundaries for the board of supervisors.

Payson schools’ budget continues to dwindle

The Payson School Board has adopted a bare-bones budget for the current fiscal year that features a 7 percent drop in overall spending, driven by dwindling enrollment and state cutbacks.

New pass would allow use of East Verde day-use sites

A new, $15 annual pass will provide unlimited use of the day-use sites along the East Verde River and popular trailheads such as Horton Creek and See Canyon, but the new pass may not calm the critics of fees charged by private companies to use public lands.

Teen dies in dune buggy crash near Forest Lakes

A 17-year-old San Tan Valley boy died and his brother was flown to a Scottsdale hospital after their dune buggy crashed into a tree Tuesday, trapping both.

Before school starts, brush up on your investment education

You don’t need to have young children to be keenly aware that we’ve reached that “back-to-school” time of year. Whether you’re shopping for school supplies or not, you may want to take a cue from this season to think about getting a little more education yourself — specifically, investment education. Many people find the language of investing to be confusing, but with a little effort, you can learn important concepts and principles.

Summer trout fishing in the White Mountains

With all of the trout lakes and streams along the Mogollon Rim that are so convenient, it is sometimes difficult to break the habit of fishing the same waters. This past week, I did just that and ventured 90 minutes farther up Highway 260 to the White Mountains. It was tough not turning left on the Tonto Fish Hatchery Road, at Woods Canyon, and finally Willow Springs, but driving farther on the 260 toward the Pinetop-Lakeside area I was in the heart of another trout fishing bonanza.

Disc golf’s Rim Country Open this weekend

Among the more than 60 disc golf enthusiasts slated to participate in the fifth annual Rim Country Open tomorrow, July 23 and July 24, are two Payson players, but then another longtime local entrant is conspicuous by his absence. Chris Lombardo is entered in the advanced division and David Marinelli has registered for the Open category. Both played in last year’s Open.

P.E. classes vital to youth good health

During my 37 years in public education I had the privilege of meeting many excellent physical education teachers, many of whom have became lifelong friends. Working alongside them has helped me develop a true appreciation of the value of P.E. in boys’ lives. Over the years, I’ve learned that physical education is one of the most important classes during the school day.

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Shocking power charge electrified homeowner

Payson man goes green and reduces monthly bills from $200 to $10

Alan Kline ripped open the monthly utility bill — and blew a kilowatt. That shocking $500 bill changed his life and drove him into the technological forefront. As a result, Kline’s electric bill last month was about $10. All that because the spritely, gray-haired retiree set out to take advantage of the federal government’s strenuous efforts to convince people to slash energy usage by installing solar and geothermal home heating and cooling systems.

$25 adoptions through Labor Day

In an effort to help bring our adoption numbers up, the Humane Society of Central Arizona is running an adoption special. All adult animals, age 1 year and up, are only $25 now through Labor Day. Now that’s a screaming deal!

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Abuse no match for PHS alum’s spirit

The Payson High School bullies who taunted and harassed Matt Christianer a decade ago would today have second thoughts about taunting him. That’s because the once smallish and picayune boy has blossomed into a 27-year-old body builder sporting a chiseled, well-defined muscular physique that is earning him accolades and plaudits from around the country.

Clubs and Organizations

Pine Cultural Hall. The public is invited.

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Old guitars get new life at Main Street Music Shop

On the walls of the Main Street Guitars and Gifts, string instruments of nearly every generation, condition and make hang silently. Some bear the marks of years of abuse while others gleam brightly, having never had a strum played across their strings.

It can be hard to name life’s most exciting moment

Interesting, isn’t it? If someone had asked me about my most exciting moment when I was a kid I’d have answered in a second.

Separation of church and God

Recently Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called for a public day of prayer and fasting, prompting criticism from First Amendment watchdog groups, atheists, and the Houston Clergy Council.

Outraged officer was not fired

I am absolutely outraged that Officer LaManna was not fired for the blatantly unprofessional behavior he has continually displayed.

Officer’s performance was disorderly and demonstrated disloyalty to citizens of Payson

I have been a director of human resources for 40 years and I must say I was horrified reading the article about some of our town’s police officers.

Commitment is everything

In today’s tough times, I have made an effort to hire high school students during this summer, and during the year, off and on. I am getting along in years, and some chores are getting to be tougher for me than last year.

Not the time for new regulations

With all the talk surrounding the debt ceiling and spending cuts, I fear that Congress is missing the point when it comes to our economy.

Thanks to Payson Apothecary Pharmacy for donation

Craig Matthews and Payson Apothecary Pharmacy are true assets to our community — always willing to lend a hand. Most recently Craig donated 100 new medicine vials to Mogollon Health Alliance’s Vial of Life program.

A classroom unlike any you’ve seen, at an affordable price

There’s a gold mine in Star Valley that few parents know about. It’s called Morgan’s Creek Montessori School for children ages 2 through 6. Montessori has long been known as a school a cut about the rest.

Good example of policy innovation, economic progress

In a recent column I wrote on our budget problems, I discussed some of the efforts Canada — which has outperformed the United States economically in recent years — took in the 1990s to turn around a massive deficit and debt problem. Recently, The Economist had an interesting story on yet another country that — at least when it comes to effectively managing its economy by reducing spending — deserves an examination. It’s the tiny nation of Estonia.

Time to address water issue

Star Valley has clearly reached the point where they need a compass — to figure out which point on the endless horizon they should choose as a destination for their water issues.

New Tonto fee plan does not solve the problem

We welcome the Tonto National Forest’s willingness to reconsider the potentially illegal fee slapped on use of day-use areas and trailheads operated by private contractors.

State helps district create classroom for emotionally disabled

Students with serious emotional challenges will now have a place to get the extra help needed at school.

Payson’s Virtual Academy will start in August

No motivating posters tacked to the wall, no need for hall passes and no more lugging a heavy book bag.

All fire restrictions lifted on Tonto National Forest lands

All campfire and smoking restrictions affecting the Tonto National Forest are being lifted, effective 8 a.m., Friday, July 22.

Pioneer daughters name Fern Taylor Spears Woman of the Year

There is a new Woman of the Year among the Daughters of Gila County Pioneers. Fern Taylor Spears was awarded the honor at a luncheon Wednesday, July 20.

Classic cars, good deeds, and car stories

Larry Bertram loves classic cars, which lured him to Rumsey Park last Saturday along with a crowd of people for whom 60-year-old vehicles remain a touchstone for a remembered childhood and a vanished age.

Learn about Living Waters’ latest adventure in Africa

Living Waters, a ministry based in Payson, is celebrating five years in Kenya.

Garnands celebrating 50th anniversary

A celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of Otis and Lynda Garnand is planned for Saturday, July 30. The celebration starts with a social hour with music and dancing from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a dinner catered by Gerardo’s Italian Bistro at 6 p.m. all at the Best Western Payson Inn, 801 N. Beeline Highway, Payson.

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Christopher Creek parade attracted 50 entries to annual event

The Christopher Creek Independence Day Parade was a great success. There were approximately 50 entries which included the walkers and bike riders. We hope to do it again next year as everyone seemed to have a good time. A special thanks to Tall Pines Market for allowing us to

Rim Country Literacy plans high-energy benefit

The Rim Country Literacy Program is planning a Zumbathon benefit as part of the First Friday festivities, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 5 at the Payson Senior Center.

SV council adds two campus board members

The project has had its share of setbacks, but on Tuesday, a four-year college campus in Payson received a boost forward.

Nighttime delays on Highways 260 east of Payson

Motorist on Highway 260 east of Payson can expect additional delays this week as excavated material is hauled away. The Arizona Department of Transportation is continuing construction to improve a two-lane segment of state Highway 260 to a four-lane divided highway about 20 miles east of Payson. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2012.

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Drop in secure rural schools dollars hurt rural areas

The cycle of warm days and occasional chance of noon or afternoon rain showers continues. An appreciable amount of rain has accumulated in some areas around Heber Overgaard over the last week. This weekend the highs will reach into the low 80s with the lows in the upper 50s and a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms.

Mountain bike race is two weeks away

Getting older comes with all sorts of different baggage. It happened again this past week. I think it is the gray hair. This is not a “guy” problem, however. How unfair! Do you know how some store clerks in their effort to be polite and not knowing your name, will use “Miss” or “Ma’am” or even worse “Miz”? I think I have it figured out.

Afternoon showers are wonderful

The rains keep falling even if the rain is minimal at times. It’s wonderful to witness the afternoon showers. The ponderosa pines appreciate the moisture along with our gardens. We do not have to water as often. Let’s hope that there is enough rain this season that we will not experience a severe drought.

Summer in Payson, ya’ just gotta love it!

And this year, in addition to all the wonderful events and different things to do here in the Rim Country, we Rim Country folks have been the recipients of exceptionally good weather. We must be doing something right. In June, we were blessed with pleasant daytime temperatures and crisp evenings, making for wonderful sleeping. Then the skies opened up at the beginning of July and brought our parched landscape much-needed rain — almost an inch-and-a-half, as per the National Weather Service figures.

Thursday, July 21

Football camp winds down

The Payson Football Camp turned into an arduous test of skill, tenacity, conditioning and doggedness for the 60-plus aspiring Longhorn players who turned out for the preseason training which began July 18 and wrapped up about noon today, Friday.

Wednesday, July 20

Mercury found in fish in Tonto Creek

Don’t eat fish caught in a 51-mile stretch of Tonto Creek between Bear Flat Campground and Roosevelt Lake, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, in association with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Department of Health Services warned Wednesday.

Music Man

Appraiser turned musician riffs on oft-delayed dream

Bob Smolenski understands about life and dreams — and patience. That’s because like many other Rim Country residents, he worked his whole life, pursued three different careers and always put practicalities over passion — until he discovered his art.

How I met the Prince of Leictenburg

Many years ago when I was living in the Midwest and working as a TV director I had the occasion to meet a fine actor. His first name was Jim. He was cast in a dramatic play for TV which I directed and we became good friends.

Online travel agencies vs. real travel agents

If you watch TV at all, you’ve seen commercials for online travel agencies, hereafter known as OTA. You know, the little gnome or the space ship captain. There are OTA for all kinds of travel, or hotels and cruises specifically. While you might be tempted by their low prices, remember that value does not always equal price. You may get a really cheap vacation that doesn’t suit your lifestyle at all.

Water over the Rim

The news of a water pipe bringing that “liquid gold” to Payson recalls the time when “the big water” first came over the Rim from, then called, the Blue Ridge Reservoir. It was 1963, and we were enjoying a late spring at our family cabin on the East Verde River. The antique apple trees on our acre, planted 80 years earlier by Mercedes Belluzzi, were in full bloom, foretelling of pies and applesauce. The waters of the river in front of our house were running twice their usual volume as the last snows melted and renewed the springs that gushed from the canyon sides.

A Different Twist on Sliders

The only thing better than a big juicy burger is a little juicy burger. Mini burgers, dubbed sliders, are all the food rage today because they “slide” right down your throat in a delightfully delicious way. Sliders seem to have invaded lots of party menus lately. They are easier to eat because of their bite size goodness and they seem to be mysteriously better tasting too. They’ll satisfy the appetites of all ages.

Getaway around Rim Country

Time Out, Inc. will have a fund-raising event, Champagne in the Garden, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6 at Freegard Ranch, 27 Freegard Lane in Star Valley. The event will be a ladies’ luncheon and hat social. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased before Aug. 1. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Charlotte at Time Out Thrift Shop at (928) 474-3989, or Judi at (928) 517-1034 before 7 p.m.

Stuff the Bus event; two food drives

The Payson Unified School District encourages everyone in Payson to participate in its first “Stuff the Bus” event, Thursday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot. Look for the yellow school bus. Stop by and help us stuff the bus with backpacks, underwear and shoes. Many students need these items to come to school fully outfitted and ready to learn.

Disc Golf Tournament this weekend

The fifth annual Rim Country Open Arizona Disc Golf Tournament will be held at 8 a.m., Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24 at Rumsey Park, 328 N. McLane Road.

Good 2 Go

On First Friday, Aug. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Senior Center will be rocking with a Zumbathon for Literacy. Once again, Christy Walton will be leading the Zumbathon and our Payson Zumba enthusiasts can enjoy another fantastic energy-charged Zumba dance celebration. Wear your favorite blue shirt and bring a friend. 

Tuesday, July 19

Tribe’s map dominates redistricting debate

A Tonto Apache-submitted Gila County supervisorial redistricting map may become the rallying point for north county residents concerned about redistricting. The Tonto Apache have asked the county to unite the north county precinct that includes their reservation with the portions of the San Carlos and White Mountain Apache reservations in District 3.

Rim Country population dwindles

16 percent of residents have moved away since recession hit in 2007

The population of Payson and Star Valley has declined by 2,000 to 4,000 people from its peak, according to U.S. Census figures. The figures suggest a 16-percent decline in the population of the three local zip codes since the boom year of 2007. Census figures indicate the population peaked at an estimated 23,500 in 2007, but dropped to an estimated 19,700 in 2010.

Education key to help prevent sexual violence

Widespread reports of sexual violence, harassment prompt schools to consider prevention program

Nearly half of girls report that a friend or peer has been pressured into have oral sex or intercourse, underscoring the growing threat of teen sexual violence in many communities the Payson school board was told by Betty McEntire, training coordinator with the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Community Almanac

The Star Valley Town Council will meet Tuesday, July 19 for a special work session at 5:30 p.m. to discuss all things relating to water. Councilors will dive into a possible aquifer study, well monitoring, the town’s water master plan and purchasing Blue Ridge surface water.

Volunteers needed by Katie’s Closet

We all know that Payson has a large number of homeless students. Kaitie’s Closet has and is trying to reach out to make sure many of these students will have clothes for school.

Fire station replica on display

The replica of a New York Fire Station (Engine 94-Bronx) was donated by the Goddards to the Optimist Club in April for the silent auction at the annual Fishing Festival. Due to unexpected snow and wind on the day of the festival, the silent auction was canceled.

A much-needed revival

As Christians, many of us have deep concerns for our nation, our community and for the eternity of millions of people. For our nation, I am convinced that there is no survival without revival. But as Dr. Greg Frizzell has said, “If genuine revival is to sweep our land, prayer and repentance must yet rise to higher levels.”

Working to save Medicare before it’s too late

Listening to feedback from my constituents, I know that Medicare is of utmost concern. Let’s talk about the facts of Medicare and where we go from here.

Payson police officer demoted for sexting

A slew of salacious pictures and sexually explicit cell phone messages have prompted the demotion of a Payson police officer, for the second time in a year.

Behavior of police officer is outrageous

Just what does a Payson cop have to do to get fired these days? Lie to the chief? Nope. That won’t work. Send off pictures of his private parts that would put a congressman to shame. Nope. Not that either. Sexually harass a confidential drug informant, whose freedom depends on the trust and good will of the officer? Nope. Not that either.

Social Security information

Is it true I must now receive my benefits through direct deposit?

Diabetes educator speaks at Senior Circle

The Payson Senior Circle of the Payson Regional Medical Center will present a special program Wednesday, July 27. John Hancock, R.N., will speak on the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

Payson Senior Center always has happenings

There’s always something happening at the Payson Senior Center, from bingo to woodcarving, Zumba dance classes to bridge. Among the most popular events are the almost daily pre-lunch programs, which include informational speakers, health issues, holiday celebrations and everyone’s favorite: live music.

AYA is looking for families to host exchange students in Payson

Academic Year in America (AYA) is looking for Payson families to host high school exchange students from all over the world.

Registered sex offender files notice he is now living in Rye

Sex offender David Albert Burge, 47, notified police that he will be living at 16557 N. Highway 87 #7 in Rye. During the summer of 1994, police say Burge molested his 9-year-old daughter on several occasions and had sexual conduct with her 12-year-old friend.

Lubetz named firefighter of year by Sons of the American Revolution

From lighting small fires in the chemistry lab to fighting real fires as a local firefighter, Jerome Lubetz’s career path is anything but conventional. His strong work ethic and ability to motivate students and now fellow firefighters has earned him a local organization’s top honor. The Rim Country Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution named Lubetz the Northern Gila County Firefighter of the Year.

Woman gets a year in jail for embezzling $116,000

The chronic embezzlement of funds from the Star Valley Veterinary Clinic to feed a shopping addiction of one employee has left Arizona’s top clinic in ruins. Two people lost their jobs, the owner maxed out his savings and staff took a cut in benefits to cover the cost of Tomi Ann Kennedy’s greed. On Monday, a Superior Court judge sentenced Kennedy, 42, of Payson, to five years probation, a year in jail and payment of full economic restitution after she pleaded guilty to theft.

Ropers descend for contest in Pleasant Valley

Sarah Haught, a Ted Meredith Memorial Roping sponsor, expects the seventh annual event — to be held July 16-17 — to be even bigger and better than past events, which are traditionally held in conjunction with Pleasant Valley Days. Which means, it could draw more than the record 1,000 teams that competed last year.

Mountain bike race gearing up in Pine

The inaugural Fire on the Rim mountain bike race has grown to include a Jazz Concert Under the Stars and Mountain Daze, which will be highlighted by an antique car show, health fair, vendors, food and music. Mountain Daze will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6 and Sunday, Aug. 7 and the musical performance will be 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6. Both will be at the Pine Community Center ramada. Admission is free.

Ex-Mav gridders meet in fight ring

A pair of teammates on Rim Country Middle School’s 1997 undefeated White Mountain League football team have decided to square off in the mixed martial arts ring. Taylor Walden and Waylon Quotskuyva will clash July 23 in the All Powers Combat battles to be held in the Tonto Apache Recreation Center.

Tease photo

Doka heads to national Junior Olympic games

A 14-year-old member of the Tonto Apache Tribe has qualified to compete in the prestigious 45th USA Track and Field Championships to be held July 26-31 in Cessna Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan. Hunter Doka earned the coveted berth by finishing fifth in the youth boys shot put event at the Junior Olympics Region 10 Championships held July 18 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. At Region 10, the teen threw 11.13 meters, or 36 feet, 6.25 inches, to finish fifth among 14 qualifiers from a five state area.

Getting in shape for upcoming fall hunts

Results from the Arizona Game and Fish Department lottery drawing for deer, turkey, sheep, and fall javelina hunting permits should soon be available on the Internet — type in and follow the directions posted. Elk and antelope tag winners have already been determined and those lucky hunters now have those precious permits in their hands for the 2011 season. Now is the time to do your part and prepare for the rigors of the fall hunt.

Clubs and Organizations

The Women of the Moose meet at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the lodge. The lodge has a Thursday Fish Fry from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and weekly dinner specials are available. Anyone interested in community service hours may call the lodge at (928) 474-6212.

Friday, July 15

Payson buys $500,000 fire truck for third station

The Payson Town Council last week approved spending $500,000 for a new fire truck for the recently completed third fire station. The cash-strapped town funded the purchase with the last scraps of the same voter-approved, 2003 bond issue that paid for construction of the not-yet-opened station off Tyler Parkway.

Sports fees to stay in effect with split vote

Despite two board members’ objections that after-school fees are unfair, students wanting to play sports next year will have to pay. On Monday, the Payson Unified School District Board approved the continuation of athletic fees in a 3-2 vote. For high schoolers, that means paying $200 for the first sport, an extra $50 for a second with the cap at $400. At the middle school, parents will have to shell out $75 with the family cap at $150.

State sticks Payson with Superfund cleanup costs

Bad news, Payson water users. The state just stiffed you — again. So the Payson Town Council last week picked up the tab — and set aside $167,000 to continue the decade-long effort to keep cancer-causing chemicals from seeping into the town’s drinking water.

APS donates to nonprofit

After APS employee Kent Echols volunteered more than 162 hours to the Gracie Lee Haught Children’s Memorial Fund, APS donated a $500 check to match Echols’ efforts

Phoenix-area foreclosure rate keeps dropping

Good news for the hard-hit Phoenix-area housing market: The rate of foreclosures continues to drop. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows the rate has now fallen four months in a row.

Is your portfolio like a baseball team?

If you’re a baseball fan, you’re no doubt aware that the MLB All-Star Game was July 12. But while you probably appreciated the grace and skill of the players, you may not realize just how much a baseball team can teach you about other aspects of life — such as investing.

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Local lodge partners with travel firm

Recently, the Christopher Creek Lodge partnered with lodging company RelaxInAZ, LLC. Jason Harris, managing partner with both the Christopher Creek and Grey Hackle Lodges, said the move means it will be easier to improve the properties and add a few new employees.

Clubs and Organizations

The Rim Country chapter of Sons of the American Revolution will meet at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 16 at Tiny’s Restaurant. Anyone interested in tracing his ancestry back to the Revolutionary War is invited to attend and become involved in our organization.

Humane society has a position for you

Like many parts of the United States, the overcrowding of animal shelters has turned into an outright epidemic. Unfortunately, Arizona is no exception to the rule. Shelters are busting at the seams with homeless animals, but staff and volunteers across the country have made it their mission to enrich the lives of animals in shelters.

Rim Country’s schools beat AIMS average

Frontier racks up high scores; high school struggles

If it’s any comfort to the teachers and students of Frontier Elementary School, they cleaned house on their final round of AIMS tests before the school board shut down the campus. Frontier students led the district at most grade levels on reading, math and writing tests in the just-released 2011 results and scored well above state averages. Frontier lagged behind the other two elementary schools, however, on the number of students who passed the science tests.

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Crosswind tosses plane during landing

Two of Rim Country’s experienced pilots crashed Thursday morning when an unexpected crosswind tossed their plane to the runway. Breakfastgoers at Crosswinds Restaurant had a front row seat to the whole incident, which happened just outside the dining room windows around 8:30 a.m.

Elk freed from neckwear by Game and Fish officers

Arizona Game and Fish officials say darting and helping an elk with a trash can lid around its neck was par for the course. On Monday night, wildlife managers finally tranquilized the young elk on the eighth hole of the Chaparral Pines golf course as the helpless bull hung out with a herd of 20 of its closest friends.

Delays, closures on Hwys. 87, 260

The Arizona Department of Transportation will close lanes beginning Monday (July 18) on a 10-mile segment of Highway 87 from one mile north of Payson to one mile south of Pine, for the next week as crews apply a chip seal surface to the roadway. Work hours will be 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

State threatens to dump state prisoners on Gila County jail

Transfer of violent inmates would ‘destroy’ local jail system, say officials

A showdown between counties and the state is looming as the Legislature threatens to balance its budget by dumping hundreds of prisoners onto the counties. “For Gila County, the cost would be prohibitive and the space is just not there,” said Gila County Sheriff John Armer.

Pilots against turning airport back to town

Turning the airport back over to the town is not going to happen this year and the airport board wants a committee to determine what options are available to operate and improve the airport in the future.

For safety reasons, town bans BB guns except in back yards

Tin cans, glass bottles, robins, lizards and other such small targets can heave a tiny sigh of relief. The Payson Town Council just banned BB guns. Well, not completely. To be specific, stick to your own back yard if you want to pop off any kind of pellet, airsoft or paintball guns in the town limits.

Payson awards $288,000 contract for airport safety

The Payson Town Council last week awarded a $288,000 contract to build runway blast pads and put up better signs at the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration will pay 95 percent of the cost and the Arizona Department of Transportation will pay another 2.5 percent — leaving Payson on the hook for about $3,000.

Widening of Pine Creek Canyon Road postponed

The long-awaited and much-anticipated widening and paving of Pine Creek Canyon Road has been put on hold. Originally the project was to have begun in June and be completed by fall. But problems with relocating the existing utility lines, including water, electricity, telephone and gas, prompted Gila County officials to delay the road construction until the spring of 2012.

Community Almanac

Cenpatico invites the family members of its clients to a Family Involvement Discussion from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, July 15 at Southwest Behavioral Health (Rim) Empowerment Center, 107 E. Aero Dr.

Thanks for making Celebration of Life a success

Thank you so very much to all who helped make the Celebration of Life for John L. Siler a success, including those who simply attended.

No free stuff for lawmakers

Independence Day 2011 is history, summer is definitely here, the monsoon has arrived, baseball’s all-star game will be played in Arizona, and there is still no closure on our legislators that accepted “free” tickets and/or trips to football games.

Airport authority doing a good job

Four years ago the town of Payson gave the PRAA the authority to manage Payson Airport. During that time, this volunteer board of the Payson Regional Airport Authority has saved the town thousands of dollars.

Garbage can ring around elk’s neck successfully removed

As featured in the Payson Roundup and on behalf of all who were concerned about a young bull elk that had snared a plastic garbage can rim around its neck, please be advised that it has been successfully removed.

Nothing is done about complaints

I returned from out of town today to read the letter in your July 8 edition submitted by my neighbor Judy Chlupsa. I too have complained numerous times regarding the abandoned trailer at 311 E. Juniper St., in addition is a large pile of lumber and brush at the rear next to my property.

Thinning and prescribed burns will protect our forests

This year’s Arizona fire season has already set records as the worst in state history. Weather conditions, coupled with the unhealthy state of our forests, served up the perfect recipe for multiple catastrophic mega-fires.

State must cancel prisoner transfers

So, let’s say that a gully has formed behind your house — threatening the foundation. Should you put up a wall of sandbags to divert the next flood through your neighbor’s living room? And would you then nominate yourself for a good neighbor award?

Lots of people help put on town events

Over the last couple years the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department has had to deal with many things including the economy and all that entails. We have had to rely on good people that are willing to give of their time and talents on a volunteer basis. This last year we have had several very large events including the Payson, Arizona Mountain High Games which was a huge success with 386 contestants. We had over 50 volunteers who helped put on this event.

Nothing dies harder than an old wives’ tale

In June, 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted an experiment to find out whether or not lightning was akin to electricity. His experiment was a success, in fact a resounding one. But what has not been a success is getting the media to get the story straight. It has been — let’s see — 259 years since Franklin conducted his experiment. And Franklin was careful to record what he did, writing it down so accurately and in such simple language that anyone who reads what he said about it can go out today and repeat it.

The coming and going of high school coaches

It’s a few weeks before the smell of pigskin permeates the fall air, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some headline-grabbing developments going on in prep football.

Softball officials singing the praises of Payson tourney

ASA state commissioner Don Fishel, of Prescott, is singing the praises of employees of the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, Payson High School and all the volunteers who helped stage the ASA Junior Olympics Class B Girls Fastpitch Arizona State Championship tournaments.

Ryder format makes for competitive tourney

A Ryder-style tournament might have turned into one of the most spirited, gung-ho and competitive matches on the Payson Men’s Golf Association summer circuit. For the PMGA event, organizers attempted to duplicate the original Ryder Cup format, which features match play competitions between players selected from two teams of 12 with winners scoring a point for their team. While the Ryder Cup pits a team from Europe against one from the United States, the PMGA Ryder was a bit more local — it was “All-Payson.”

Some like, others dislike, new high school divisions

The Arizona Interscholastic Association mandated switch from the conference-region configuration to a division-section alignment is sure to change the dynamics of high school sports, especially in Payson High football. Among the first to notice the changes was golf coach Bret Morse, also the football team’s offensive coordinator. Midway through last golf season he said the new alignment had done away with some of the storied rivalries that had built up over the years as the Longhorns traveled around Arizona for matches.

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Football camp big on fundamentals

A field of 45 enthusiastic boys set to enter grades three through eight next school year, showed up July 11 to participate in the Payson Youth Football Camp. Sponsored by the Town Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, the gridiron camp was held from 9 a.m. to noon three consecutive days on the Rumsey Park North multipurpose field.

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Jerome - History's Refractions

Ghost town turned artist colony offers kaleidoscope of experiences

Standing in a funky little kaleidoscope shop perched on a near vertical hilltop in Jerome, it came to me: Jerome is a lot like a kaleidoscope. Holding the optical toy to my eye, the broken fragments of glass swirled and morphed until coming to rest in a beautiful display of patterns. Somehow everything in that tube came together to form a picture, just like the town, which offers its own delightfully skewered view.

Lazy days of summer are just starting

Has this been true of your summer thus far? Not me. I have had a young man come to help me one day a week. We have cleaned out two sheds, given away unwanted furniture, made a run to the landfill, torn down the dry-rotted deck, raked pine needles, cemented in a gate post, and a gazillion other jobs.

Tease photo

Cycle of thunderstorms has returned for the summer

The cycle of thunderstorms due to the moisture influence and daytime warm-ups has returned for the summertime. Highs reaching to the low to mid 80s and lows in the low 50s will continue. Afternoon and sometimes morning cooling from storms will occur as the clouds build and precipitate.

Payson High grad Troy Jenkins recovering from being injured in Afghanistan

Troy Jenkins, son of Darrel and Stephanie Jenkins of Payson, was seriously injured in Afghanistan on June 13. Troy is a 2006 graduate of Payson High School. He was on his fifth tour with the 1st Ranger BN when his team was in the process of establishing an observation post.

Campfires now allowed in campgrounds

The clouds have finally let their moisture fall over Tonto Village in measurable amounts of rain. According to our neighbor, who has a rain gauge, the rainfall since Sunday night, was a 1-1/4 inches. Last week, there was about three-quarters of an inch of rainfall. So far, that measures about 2 inches for July.

Missouri Opry to perform Saturday

It just figures. Last Saturday, Ann and I finally had an open date on our summer music schedule so we could take in our first concert in the park. And what happened? Mother Monsoon opened up and forced Deb Rose, parks and rec concert coordinator, to give the cut sign to Junction 87, local band favorite, before the country trio even reached their half-time break. (Drowned) rats!

Thursday, July 14

Good 2 Go

The Payson Area Habitat for Humanity is having a car wash from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 16 at the Jiffy Lube located at 160 E. Highway 260 in Payson.

Getaway around Rim Country

The July 16 Concert Under the Stars in Green Valley Park will feature Jerry & Judy of the Missouri Opry. Their music ranges from new country hits, old country standards and swing tunes from the 1940s to rock and roll hits of the 1950s.

Summer fun continues at library

Rim Country Classic Auto Club will present an exhibit at Rumsey Park Saturday, July 16 as part of the Payson Public Library’s Key Ingredients Smithsonian Institution exhibit. The car show is free.

The Zane Grey Highway

Type in Zane Grey Highway on Google Maps and you’ll be taken to a section of Highway 260 running from Camp Verde to Highway 87 up on top of the Rim. But that’s not the only part of Highway 260 that’s been referenced as the Zane Grey Highway and there were once bigger plans for the term. Here’s a closer look.

Violent Landscape

The twisted, brilliant land forms of Sunset Crater bear witness to convulsions of the Earth — which may yet renew themselves

Let us say that a gnat with a lifespan of a few minutes came across the vast terrain of a human being lying stretched in the grass. Astonished and a little fearful, the gnat freezes motionless — anxious to know whether this mountain of a creature is dead or merely sleeping.

The scoop on sweet, summer delights

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month (July 17 this year) as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90 percent of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands

Island vacations can be a formal affair or places to let your hair down. The Turks and Caicos islands can be a mix of both. The collection of islands off the coast of the Bahamas consists of 40 beautiful and diverse escapes from the ordinary. Eight of these are inhabited. The group is located 550 miles from Miami, just below the Bahamas chain. They occupy the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea.

Artery plugging can make walking painful

Please explain peripheral vascular disease. I have never heard of it, and neither have people I have asked.

Tuesday, July 12

Entity to own campus formed

Vogel and Kastner appointed to board that will own $500 million campus, support facilities

Plans for a college campus in Payson moved one step closer to reality last week as the town council took a key step in setting up the Separate Legal Entity (SLE) that will actually own the campus and related facilities. The council also appointed former town councilor Mike Vogel and former marketing executive Mary Kastner to fill two of the six seats on the board of the newly formed Rim Country Educational Alliance. Star Valley will also appoint two board members. The four board members will then recommend two more people to sit on the SLE board.

Monsoon rains ease fire threat, drying trend predicted

Forest Service opens all Rim areas, but some fire restrictions remain in place

Blessed by the vigorous onset of monsoon rains, the Forest Service this week lifted closures in Rim Country, but left many fire restrictions in place. The Tonto National Forest on Wednesday will lift closures that had limited use of Fossil Creek, Tonto Creek and areas off the Control Road, crimping tourism at the height of the season.

State guzzles gas tax money, forcing county to dip into reserves

Gila County is bracing for a $770,000 hit from state lawmakers to its already strained 2011-12 budget, forcing yet another raid on its dwindling reserves. Next year, the impact could balloon to a $2 million blow if the state follows through on a threat to transfer state prisoners back to the county.

Abandoned pets fill up animal shelter

Alas — no room at the inn. Well, hardly any. The Payson animal shelter has filled up in recent weeks with strays and abandoned pets, prompting workers there to at least temporarily turn away some voluntary surrenders of animals. At the moment, the shelter has 70 dogs and 79 cats — a roughly 50 percent increase above the normal, average census.

Shooting victim seeks medical help day after incident

A shooting that occurred on West Frontier Street Sunday was not reported to police until the victim showed up at the hospital a day later.

Community Almanac

The Payson Area Habitat for Humanity is having a car wash (as well as trucks and RVs) from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 16 at the Jiffy Lube located at 160 E. Highway 260 in Payson. In addition to washing vehicles, the Habitat folks will be selling root beer floats and raffle tickets for some great prizes.

Thanks for contributions to Rim Country Friends of Ferals

On June 18, Rim Country Friends of Ferals was invited to be one of the nonprofit organizations to participate in the customer appreciation days event at the Twin Pines Shopping Center.

U.S. is not a Christian nation

President Obama has told the world that the U.S. is not a Christian nation and for a short period I strongly disagreed with this statement. I know that this nation was founded upon Christian values and principles, but in a short period of time, we have rejected these principles for selfish desires.

Alternative power sources are not free

It sort of restores one’s faith in an independent, inquisitive, even impertinent media to read a story about legislators fighting Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s wind power plan in the Environment and Climate News publication of May 2011.

Forest policy must be proactive, solutions-oriented, and fiscally sustainable

This year, our communities have been victims of the largest forest fires in recorded history. The Wallow Fire on the Apache-Sitgreaves Forests grew to over half a million acres, charring in its wake some of the most treasured parts of ponderosa pine country. In total, over a million acres of Forest Service lands, as well as another 600,000 acres of federal, state and private lands have burned across the American Southwest.

Loyal friends need help

Our best and oldest friends are suffering in these hard times. Specifically, the Humane Society of Central Arizona has 50 percent more abandoned dogs and cats than usual crowded into its shelter just off Payson’s Main Street. About 70 dogs and 79 cats are crowded into kennels and cages, waiting for someone to adopt them.

Parents face school registration flurry

For Payson families with school-age children, six weeks of summer vacation have passed and the first day of school looms on Wednesday, July 27. Many students will end up in new schools this year, as the district moves to close Frontier Elementary School and change the grade-level line ups for the two remaining elementary schools.

Rescue squad practices its craft

High up on a narrow, rocky cliff, an injured hiker waits. After falling half way down the precipice, the hiker is lucky to have landed anywhere but the ground.

Rim Social Security visits end

Rim Country residents needing to visit with a Social Security representative can no longer make that contact at the Payson Town Hall. The Social Security Administration will no longer visit Payson Town Hall to handle area residents’ business. The service is being discontinued due to Congress significantly cutting the administrative budget, said Rudy Macias, district manager of the SS office in Mesa.

Semi pulled over for 24 violations

Arizona Department of Transportation enforcement officers have taken a rolling truck of horrors off the roadway. Several months ago, during vehicle inspections in Payson, ADOT officers got their biggest hit, when they cited one driver with more than 20 violations.

Ideas on how to expand Star Valley’s town hall under consideration

The Star Valley council is debating how best to make room in a crammed situation. While town staff wants to add 64 square feet of new office space onto town hall, some council members weren’t sure it was enough room or worth the money. Since moving to town hall in May 2010, Star Valley has looked at every possible configuration to get more room out of a crowded layout.

Clubs and Organizations

The Drama Camp, sponsored by the Pine Library, began July 11 and will continue through July 22, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. The camp is free. The camp will be taught by Patti Lawrence and participants will work on the play, “The Trial of Goldilocks” with a public performance TBA.

New ‘digs’ for the Humane Society Thrift Shop

It is now located at 501 W. Main Street, Suite B, on the south side of the street in a bigger and brighter space. More room means it is easier to browse the shop’s collection of new and used treasures, including clothing, housewares and decorative items.

Second quarter real estate statistics offer good news, bad news

The good news: the second quarter of 2011 produced an uptick in units sold over the second quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 in both Payson-Star Valley and Pine-Strawberry. The not so good news: the average sales price of homes continued to drop. However, the trend lines seem to indicate that prices may have bottomed out. A reason for the drop in average sale prices may be attributed to an increase in units of lower priced homes being purchased.

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Massage therapist aims to relieve chronic pain

From Reiki, Swedish massage to Craniosacral therapy, if you have a kink there is probably a technique to fix it. A former resident of the White Mountains says she can straighten out just about anyone with 16 years of therapeutic massage experience.

ASA tourney a huge success

All those who helped stage the Class B Arizona ASA Junior Olympics Fastpitch Tournament, including Town Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Cameron Davis, ASA State Commissioner Don Fishel, State JO Commissioner Rick Hormann and a throng of hard-working town employees, deserve huge pats on the back for making the event the overwhelming success it was.

Understanding how team ropers are rated

With the Meredith Roping and several other similar events coming up, those not familiar with the rodeo sport are asking, “What is a No. 9 roper? How is a No. 8 roper different from a No. 4?” And, in team roping, “What does pick or draw mean?”

Ropers ready to converge on memorial event

For the past seven years, Gila County’s finest heelers and headers have gathered each summer in Young to participate in the Ted Meredith Memorial Roping and pay respect to the cowboy the event is named after. Meredith, who died in 2005, was a longtime Gila County rancher, a home builder, former high school wrestling champion and well known for fashioning custom spurs that are the envy of cowboys and cowgirls around Arizona.

9-10-year-old all-stars claim tourney wins

The Payson 9-10-year-old Little League softball all-stars have become the second Rim Country team to win two postseason tournament games. The stars, coached by Eric Smith, Dawn Smith and Nick Landress, chalked up the accomplishment during the Area 1 Little League tournament played July 5 to 8 in Snowflake.

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Fastpitch tourney attracts 52 teams

Even Mother Nature couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Rim Country visitors who played in or watched the Class B Arizona ASA Junior Olympics Fastpitch Tournament played July 8 to 10 at Rumsey Park and Payson High School. But that didn’t mean Ol’ Mom didn’t try.

Friday, July 8

SV council protests state HURF fund cuts

Hoping to tame the “carnivorous appetite” of the state Legislature, Star Valley joined with other cities and towns around the state Tuesday to say “no” to further cuts to state-shared revenue. Star Valley’s share of the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) has been decreasing for at least the last six years. Since fiscal year 2007-2008, Star Valley’s HURF funds have declined 15 percent.

Not guilty

Jury acquits Ron Johns of attempted murder

After listening to six days of testimony and deliberating for less than a day, 12 jurors found a Tonto Basin man acted in self-defense when he shot his neighbor in the back of the head more than a year ago. Defendant Ronald Johns, 70, was found not guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault and cruelty to animals. He will be sentenced July 23 for three counts of misconduct involving weapons, which he pleaded guilty to two days before trial.

Board may return airport to Payson

So is it time to get married again? In short: Should Payson get back into the airport business? That’s the question the Payson Regional Airport Authority board will take up Monday at a special 5 p.m. meeting at the Crosswinds Restaurant off Airport Road.

Wildfires spur call for forest thinning

The summer’s massive wildfires sparked a legislative hearing this week during which lawmakers representing Rim Country called for a sharp increase in efforts to thin federal forests and revive the timber industry to help cut millions of overgrown acres. The lawmakers joined in calling on the federal government to boost budgets for both fire protection and forest thinning, including the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4-FRI), which has won the support of both timber and environmental groups.

Rain allows Apache-Sitgreaves to re-open Friday with restrictions

Parts of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will re-open for public use on Friday morning, July 8, with Stage 1 fire restrictions still in effect until more rain has fallen.

Community Almanac

This coming weekend, the Regional Payson Area Project… for a Fire Wise Rim Country (RPAP) will be staffing free brush drop-off points at the following locations, weather permitting: Saturday, July 9 the Blattner Pit will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Blattner Pit is located at Milepost 259.7 on Highway 260, east of Payson.

Thanks to all who participated in church’s golf tourney

With gratitude to the larger community, we joyfully announce that $9,300 was raised in the recent charity golf tournament at The Rim Golf Club for the benefit of the Mount Cross Lutheran Church building fund.

Change of policy questioned

I know there are many other animal lovers here in Payson and the surrounding areas, and I’d like to hear their opinions about the following issue.

Complaints about property ignored by town officials

I just don’t understand the city’s viewpoint on the complaints that have been registered with them in regard to a property at 311 E. Juniper St. in Payson.

Defending freedom is important

Hungary recently unveiled a statue to honor former President Ronald Reagan in its capital, Budapest. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban lauded the former president for “chang[ing] the world and creat[ing] a new world for Central Europe.” It was Reagan, Orban said, who, “tore down the walls which were erected in the path of freedom in the name of distorted and sick ideologies.”

Move forward with 4-Forests

Arizona House members Brenda Barton and Chester Crandell, who represent Rim Country, this week co-chaired a hearing on wildfires. The witnesses included only Congressman Paul Gosar and a representative from the Arizona Cattlegrowers Association.

The effect of substance abuse in boxing

Over the past several years, these articles submitted by the Gila County Meth Coalition have covered the varied high-profile cases of people in the entertainment and sports fields involved with drugs and alcohol abuse. It really shouldn’t come as any surprise or shock that the boxing industry has now been singled out as the next forum for fallen heroes.

Famous last words to remember

I have to admit it, I’m jealous. Some people not only lead great lives, but they also manage to depart this life with words that are long remembered. Not me. I’ll probably say, “Hey! Who turned out the da — d lights?”

Pleasant Valley Days and Quilt Show is July 16

Make plans to get down to Young between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday, July 16 for Pleasant Valley Days Quilt Show XI. The theme this year is “Family Memories.” Everyone in Young and the surrounding area is invited to dig into their closets, boxes and trunks to see what they can find.

Hapless elk sports strange neckgear

Parkway. The young male elk showed up a month ago sporting some curious neckwear and a nonchalant attitude. He’s been spotted repeatedly since then, as though he was auditioning for a YouTube video.

Shooting story was a tall tale

A Roundup reporter found himself in a possible murder story June 26 when a man showed up on his doorstep claiming he had just witnessed a shooting.

Two Gila County school resource officers elected to state board

In June, Gila County school resource officers Mike Fane and Pete Licavoli were elected to serve on the Arizona School Resource Officers Association (ASROA) board. Licavoli replaces longtime Payson High School resource officer Dave Vaught of the Payson Police Department, who retired from the force and the ASROA board.

Supervisors want court panic buttons for safety

The Gila County Board of Supervisors recently approved panic buttons to protect judges in courtrooms, but put off a decision on a $200,000 package of security upgrades. On the heels of worrisome threats and recent security breeches, the supervisors approved about $15,000 worth of initial improvements in courtrooms and county buildings. That includes “panic buttons” so that judges and others can quickly summon help if situations get out of control.

Golfers give writer good ribbing

Sometimes I’m forced to endure oodles of good-natured ribbing from members of the Payson Men’s Golf Association, especially its spokesman, Herb Sherman. The ragging usually centers on PMGA member Troy Neal and the frequent number of times his name appears in Payson Roundup golf stories.

Football camp to be largest in Rim

they will train during five days of grueling practices, weight lifting sessions, passing league play and conditioning drills.

Passing leagues a must in prep football

Passing league, or 7-on-7, football has enjoyed rapid growth the past two decades with high schools of all enrollment sizes participating in a sport similar to touch football, once played only on streets and in schoolyards. Today, coaches of the nearly one million high school students who play contact football encourage their charges to participate in passing leagues as a fun, competitive and mostly non-contact way to play football.

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Fast pitch championships to bring 2,000-3,000 to area

If Don Fishel and Cameron Davis are seen dancing the jig in Rumsey Park, the pair’s elation is completely understandable. The euphoria is because the ASA Junior Olympic Girls Fast Pitch “B” State Championship set to begin today, July 8 and continue July 9-10 in Payson, has drawn a whopping field of 52 teams.

Recreation Roundup -

The American Red Cross Dog First Aid training course teaches the immediate and temporary care to give an injured dog until it can receive medical care from a veterinarian.

Kuhns, Wagner on top in PMGA play

Phil Wagner and Ed Kuhns were the big winners at the Payson Men’s Golf Association hosted “ABCD Team Low Net Tournament” played June 29 at Payson Golf Course.

A day hike for wilderness stream fishing

This past week, I made a trip into one of the many wilderness streams of the Rim Country in hopes of catching a rainbow or German brown that could be classified as a wild trout.

Protect your pets from the extreme, summer heat

The Humane Society of Central Arizona had a reason to celebrate last Saturday: Dixie was adopted! Thanks to last week’s article, three of our featured seniors were placed into loving, forever homes. It’s such a great feeling when people come in to adopt because they saw one of our adorable adoptables in the paper.

Clubs and Organizations

Anyone interested in studying Unity teachings is invited to join the newly forming ministry in the process of affiliation with Unity Worldwide Ministries.

Payson Edward Jones financial planner receives certification

Ross Hage of Edward Jones in Payson has been authorized by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) as a certified planner.

Time to review your employee 401(K) holdings

This may be the time of year when your company gives you a chance to increase your 401(k) contributions. But how much to put in isn’t your only decision regarding your 401(k) — you’ll also want to look at your investment mix. Why? Because things change — and, if you want to get the maximum benefits from your 401(k), you’ll need to make sure it still meets your needs.

Main Street humming with First Friday vibes

Recalling a time when historic Main Street hummed as the center of Payson, a steady stream of visitors gathered to listen to Junction 87 play country music in front of Bootleg Alley and browsed through local shops during First Friday. The Senior Center remained closed, but the Rim Country Republican Club table, manned by President Andy McKinney, set up shop in the parking lot.

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Cycle of monsoonal storms appearing

The cycle of “monsoonal” style storms have begun for the summer. Monday, July 4, we received precipitation in the Heber Overgaard area between .20 to .50 of an inch of rain, depending on where in our locality it was being observed.

Dry rain was new experience for house guest

That little picture of clouds with diagonal lines beneath them is showing up regularly on my Internet weather forecaster site. More importantly, those diagonal lines have become actual rain! Well, sometimes. An interesting rain phenomenon was experienced by my house guest this week. He is from the Pacific Northwest, so rain doesn’t make him as giddy as it does us. He experienced “Arizona” rain. That is when you feel the drops but don’t get wet. He noted that he had heard about dry heat, but dry rain was a new experience! Whatever kind of rain we have is more than welcome.

Finally rain, but watch where you walk

Rain! Finally the clouds appeared and opened up and let the rain fall. It’s about time and so very welcome to everyone, but mostly to the very dry Tonto National Forest. I looked back through my journal from last year, 2010, and noticed that July was a very wet month for the area. It rained just about every day.

Water testing of Tonto, Christopher creeks water reveals one problem

Anyone ever wonder about the quality of the creek water? Not long ago a volunteer organization was formed up here called TWIG, which is short for Tonto Watershed Improvement Group.

First year of marriage celebrated with fireworks

I wonder how many of us can say that when we celebrate our wedding anniversary, we feel fireworks all around us? Well, that’s exactly what I feel on my wedding anniversary. You see, it was one year ago this past Monday, the Fourth of July, that Ann and I were married at our home overlooking Green Valley Park, right before the fireworks began.

Tips and tricks to take advantage of YouTube power

You’ve seen the power of YouTube. There have been many lost work hours spent watching anything from double rainbows to playful kittens. Heck, YouTube even started that whole Bieber-fever nonsense. It is a powerful tool. We wanted to share a few of our favorite YouTube features with you. These features kind of fly below the radar, so you may not be using them yet. But they will make your YouTube experience a lot more fun.

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July 4 bash long on fun, short on stress

Gage, 2, and Gavin Palace, 3, normally blend into a crowd simply because they only come up to an adult’s knee, but on the Fourth of July they stood out proudly, on account of their blond Mohawks painted with the stars and stripes. At Payson’s annual Fourth of July children’s games, the boys showcased their mother Kyndra Conlon’s artistic talent.

Thursday, July 7

Jazz concert

Enjoy swinging jazz at the Payson Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St. at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 10. The afternoon concert will feature guitarist and vocalist Pete Pancrazi, pianist Beth Lederman, bassist Vic Kottner and drummer Gerry Reynolds. Special guest saxophonist Tony Vacca will also be performing.

Good 2 Go

The Payson Rodeo has been around since 1884. Held every year, even during World War II, it is the World’s Oldest CONTINUOUS Rodeo. Learn about its history and the story of one of its founders, Charlie Meadows. Join Rim Country Museum docents on a road trip around the Rim Country to sites associated with Meadows.

The Denali Road lottery

Every year, 1,600 lucky people “win” the Denali Road lottery sponsored by the National Park Service, allowing them to drive their private vehicles into the park. During the regular park season, private vehicles are forbidden after mile 15, and only Park Service buses go further into the park.

Vermillion Cliffs

Isolated, yes. Beautiful, unbelievably so. Unexplored, certainly. The clear, cold nighttime sky was full of sparkling stars every night we spent on the edge of the cliffs as we looked out the front door of our restful lodging. Walking along the semi-marked trails made us feel like we were the first people to have set foot on the south side of the massive Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and Wilderness area.

Frontier teacher in Tonto Basin

Chapter 23: Epilogue, The Wedding

Angie Mitchell returned home to Prescott on Christmas Day, 1880, after teaching at the first school in Tonto Basin. Ten days later, she received word of her appointment as clerk for the House of Representatives in the 11th Arizona Territorial Legislature. She had applied for this position before going to teach on Tonto Creek and had promised to return for the next term unless her application in Prescott was confirmed. Now she would not return to Tonto, but would remain in her hometown, “enrolling and engrossing” bills submitted in the House of Representatives.

Getting a Handle on Heartburn

After an endoscopy, the doctor told me I have a hiatal hernia. He said nothing could be done for it and that I will have to live with it the rest of my life. He gave me no medicines or advice. I am anxious about this and would appreciate any info you can give me.

Remember the days of service?

Almost every day, I yearn for the past times when our society rendered service — service of all kinds. Some of us remember service stations when they indeed rendered service. When you pulled into the station and parked next to a pump, a service attendant came to your window and asked, “May I clean your windshield, check your oil and look under the hood to make sure all cables were connected?” They also checked your battery. Remember? Today, you pull into the gas station and do it all yourself. And, gas is a zillion times more expensive than in those days of service.

Dukes of the Dutch Oven

Every Memorial Day weekend for the past eight years there has been a DOG at Rumsey Park. Not the wagging tail kind, but the kind that might make you wag your tail if you had one. The DOG is a Dutch Oven Gathering and the food the participants produce is tail-wagging wonderful. Think chicken enchiladas topped with perfectly melted, lightly browned cheese; beautifully baked bread; pineapple upside down cake and more.

Trade liberty for life

What does independence and liberty mean to you? It depends on who you ask, doesn’t it? • To a United States veteran, it might mean living in the land of the free, because he or she fought for this land through their injuries, blood, sweat and tears. Sacrificing personal abundance in order to secure abundance for so many others. • To a slave, it means no longer living under the brutal oppression of a master and instead being able to independently live to make choices, making one’s own way in life. • For a teenager, it means finally being able to leave the house, make their own decisions and live their own life transitioning into an adult life.

Wednesday, July 6

County dips into reserves to balance budget

County running out of savings to compensate for dwindling revenues and state cost-shifting

Gila County must once again draw on its dwindling reserves to provide more services with less money this year, county administrators told the board of supervisors at a marathon budget session on Tuesday. The biggest difference between last year’s general fund budget, and this year’s budget: The state cut the county’s funding but increased its responsibilities.

Community Almanac

On the first Wednesday of each month, Adam Bean, a constituent service representative for U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, conducts office hours at the Gila County Board of Supervisors Office, 610 E. Highway 260 in Payson from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The next visit is Wednesday, July 6.

Thanks for expressions of support

Thank each of you for your wonderful, heartfelt expressions of love and support in our time of grief in the loss of my precious Susie Q.

Wonderful story about collection

Andy Towle did a wonderful piece about my collection (April 29, 2011).

Thanks to those involved with foreign exchange students

I would like to personally thank Michael Buskirk/Daria Mason and family. Joe and Diane Scott, Dr. Luis, Ramona and Catalina Coppelli, Bill and Elise Pitterle and Ray, Lorraine and Chelsea York who have hosted exchange students this year through EF a Foundation for Foreign Study.

Harassed at farmers market

I went to the Payson Farmers Market this past Saturday, July 2. I was enjoying the morning with my mother when I was approached by a market official.

Our nation provides a path to prosperity

Two hundred and thirty five years ago this Fourth of July, our Founding Fathers exhibited immense courage when they signed their names to the Declaration of Independence. They did not just put their names on a piece of paper; they put their lives on the line to stand against tyranny and stand up for liberty and freedom.

Striking a balance on forest fees

The Tonto National Forest faces a tough problem when it comes to figuring out how to allow people access to their own forest — without trashing the place. That dilemma has come into sharp focus with the debate about whether the forest should let a private company run trailhead and picnic areas — and charge people every time they get out of their cars.

Judge gives twin sentences for twin teens

After pleading guilty to theft charges, twins James and Devin Gabel, 18, received identical sentences Monday. The Gabels will serve two years of intensive, supervised probation, pay $125 restitution to the victim and pay court and probation fees, said Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill.

Rim Country residents make run on coupon class

A chance encounter at a local store between coupon queen Monica Vaughn and librarian Bessie Tucker led to the presentation of the “Extreme Couponing” class at the Payson Public Library. The class was part of the library’s Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit Key Ingredients: America by Food.

New rules for Medicare beneficiaries

The Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, Benefits Entitlements and Advocacy Department’s benefit staff and volunteer counselors are available to assist Medicare beneficiaries during the upcoming 2012 Annual Coordination Election Period with plan option comparisons, online enrollment, Medicare cost sharing program screening, eligibility and application assistance to help with out-of-pocket premium and prescription costs.

July is jumping

July is here, marching in to drums playing patriotic music, picnics, outdoor fun and hot weather. July is no shrinking violet; it is big and bold and ... Hey! Was that a rumble of thunder I heard? July puts on its own fireworks complete with spectacular light shows and booms that can rock a house. Don’t forget the rain that sometimes comes down like a waterfall.

Sales still bumping along the bottom

Rim Country’s recovery continues to shimmer down the road just out of reach, like the illusion of a puddle on a Valley highway. May sales in Payson declined slightly from last year, according to the town’s financial tracking report. By contrast, statewide sales tax collections actually increased — indicating Rim Country continues to lag behind the big, urban counties when it comes to recovering from the recession.

Lightning-caused fires contained

The Tonto Basin Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service responded to several forest fires over the weekend, with all contained by Monday afternoon.

Head-on collision on Hwy. 87 leaves two dead

A head-on collision north of Payson Monday left two people dead. The deaths were part of four accident-related fatalities the Arizona Department of Public Safety investigated over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Clubs and Organizations

The Women of the Moose meet at 6 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at the lodge. The Loyal Order of the Moose meetings are at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

Low interest rates beckon homeowers to refinance

Right now, mortgage interest rates are unbelievable. Way back when I bought a home in 1978, I financed at a 9.25 percent interest rate and thought I hit the jackpot because the rate was a quarter percent lower than the market rate. If I remember correctly, we financed approximately $70,000, which would equate to a principal and interest (P&I) payment of $576. Today, that same $70,000 can be financed as low as 4.59 percent on a 30-year mortgage and even less on a 15-year term.

Four used car scams and how to avoid them before you buy

Online car shoppers use Web sites like eBay Motors, Craigslist and Edmunds to find the perfect car. However, the Internet has also become a resource for scammers, according to the National Consumers League (NCL), which saw an increase in scam-related consumer complaints during the first quarter of 2011.

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Home Center collaborating with local vendors

Seven months after opening in the former location of the Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company, the owners of Payson Home Center celebrated the store’s official grand opening July 2.

Swim team has one home meet left

The Payson Pikes swim team has just one home meet remaining on its 2011 calendar. It begins at 5:30 p.m. July 8 at Taylor Pool and will be a dual meet against Camp Verde. Spectators are welcome and there is no admission charge.

Rim junior rodeo riders earn honors

The Arizona Junior Rodeo Association 2010-2011 season has wrapped up and six Rim Country cowboys and cowgirls are celebrating hard-earned all-around honors. Among the 9-10-year-old girls, Brylee Hall finished third with 500 points. Her sister, Bryndee, was fourth with 459.50 points.

Old gym’s roof will be replaced

The aging roof on old Payson High School gymnasium will be replaced in the next few months thanks to funds the school district has received from the Arizona State Schools Facilities Board. Word that the board had approved the project surfaced during a June 29 meeting of the facilities board that was attended by Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O’Brien and Director of Maintenance and Transportation Todd Poer.

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All-stars get wins in Area tourney

By becoming the first team in the four-year history of Rim Country fastpitch to win a postseason tournament game, Payson Little League Softball All-Stars are stamping themselves into the record books. Actually, the stars won two games in the Area 1 tournament whipping Holbrook 13-6 on June 28 and thumping Flagstaff 11-7 a day later.

Tuesday, July 5

Tonto Forest seeks plan to reduce fees

The Payson Ranger District continues to study the impact of imposing fees on people who use day-use areas and trailheads, in the shadow of legal challenges and complaints.

Payson teen faces trial as adult in assault on young girl

A Payson teen will face trial Aug. 2 as an adult three years after he allegedly had sex with a 12-year-old girl behind a shopping center.

Nature displays its own light show before the town’s fireworks display

The clouds rolled in about 4 p.m., dropping temperatures and a few raindrops on the crowd gathered at Green Valley Park to watch the only fireworks display in the Rim Country.

Argument leads to shooting

When Ron Johns went to repair a red Chevrolet pickup in front of his Tonto Basin home on the morning of May 5, 2010, he brought a loaded double-barreled shotgun in case his neighbor showed up.

Friday, July 1

Payson man dies, two women hurt in Hwy. 87 crash

A Payson man died Monday afternoon and two other women were injured when their vehicle crashed into an oak tree north of town.

Visitors on the rise at Tonto Natural Bridge

State park repairs damage to lodge; stays open seven days a week

Bouyed by a 12-percent rise in visitation, the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park has returned to a seven-day-a-week schedule as rangers and volunteers brace for a busy holiday weekend. Managers of the world’s largest natural arch and its historic buildings hope that word will spread among visitors still confused by fire-based forest closures and lingering questions about state parks budget cuts.

Supporters: Campus in Payson would attract ‘granola’ type students

An Arizona State University campus in Payson would bring with it more “granola” type students over “bar hopping” undergraduates, community supporters said Monday night before a crowd of about 80 people at Payson High School.

Fewer students playing sports

Superintendent doubts that $200 fee accounts for the change

Participation in school sports has dwindled every year since the Payson Unified School District imposed fees, but the sports and extracurricular programs still aren’t breaking even, the board learned at its meeting this week.

Fire danger still high for July 4 holiday

Let it rain. Please, please, please. Let it rain. That’s the refrain in the Tonto National Forest, where officials hope that forest closures and fire restrictions will get them through a busy holiday weekend without a fresh disaster.

Community Almanac

Effective immediately, the Social Security Administration will no longer visit the contact station at 303 N. Beeline Highway, located in the Payson Town Hall.  The service is discontinued at this location because Congress significantly cut the Social Security administrative budget.

Garden tour was a great success

On behalf of the Rim Area Gardeners, I would like to thank the following for making the Mogollon Garden Tour a great success this year: the garden owners, Bruce and Diane Branstrom, Bob and Dee Hershberger, Will and Bev Wells, Harris and Danuta LaViolette, Gene and Donna Runnels and Harry and Nancy Jones.

Cancel fireworks display

It’s time to write an annual plea asking the city fathers to cancel the 4th fireworks display.

So many homeless children in Payson is heartbreaking

I cannot believe the number of homeless students now in Payson. I am too old to be of much help to any of them. I had kids all over my floor in sleeping bags when my sons were in school.

Residents in the north need to split from southern Gila County

It seems that the northern part of Gila County is going to be mugged again by the decennial redistricting of the county.

Local Soroptimists thank all who helped with project

More than 1,000 bras were donated from the local Soroptimist club to the project called “Free The Girls,” in Mozambique, Africa.

A consumer revolt

Recently I called, the Arizona Corporation Commission, and the Phoenix Better Business Bureau to get a number for the Phoenix supplier of a product sold locally. No one could help.

Simple math and another reason not to raise taxes

Despite false claims by liberals, the federal government actually collects more money when it reduces taxes. There is a great deal of debate in Washington about how to get our budget under control. It’s clear that something dramatic needs to be done, and soon. It’s simple math — we cannot continue borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend without eventually going bankrupt. I believe we need to significantly reduce spending, reform entitlement programs and enact permanent restraints on the size of government to keep us solvent over the long term.

A divided revolution and a new generation

A year into the revolution, the American colonies remained deeply divided. Perhaps a third of the population had joined in the armed revolt against the British Parliament and King. Another third actively supported the English, the world’s one established superpower. Still another third sat nervously on the fence, awaiting to see how the revolution would fare.

When you start something, you never know where it will end

something you never know where it will end. And start something I did. Back in 1954 I started the engine of a 1935 Chevy four-door sedan, and here I am, 54 years later, still thinking about the drive I took that night.

Mothers and daughters exercise their relationship

Health Alliance launches effort to help women acquire healthy habits

As the late shadows crept across Green Valley Park, two-dozen moms and daughters gathered to share in camaraderie, learn about health and fitness and take a walk. “We saw this event listed in the Payson Roundup. Since my mom lives in Ohio, and I live in Arizona, we don’t get to spend much time together. This seemed a healthy way to share time,” said Sheila Marcum. Her mother Sharon Dobrinski sat at a picnic table getting her blood pressure taken by student nurses from Gila Community College in preparation for a walk around the lake at Green Valley.

Judge rules on child pornography evidence

With trial less than a month away, Judge Peter Cahill on Monday had to determine which pictures and videos found on a 73-year-old man’s computer and flash drives qualify as child pornography. Judge Cahill, Payson Police Det. Matt VanCamp and attorneys laboriously went through each photograph that county prosecutors hope to submit during trial.

Payson council boosts property tax rate to help balance spending

Despite rise in base rates, decline in bonds and assessed value will likely result in a small decrease for most homeowners

The Payson Town Council last week approved an essentially break-even change in the town’s property tax rate. The council also adopted a draft of a general fund operating budget of $13.6 million — up 14 percent from last year. The total budget stands at $46 million, compared to last year’s $75 million. But that huge figure includes millions in grants and capital projects the town must include even if it won’t actually get the money. This year, the town spent $28 million instead of the budgeted $75 million.

Dukes of the Dutch Oven in the thick of weekend event

Every Memorial Day weekend for the past eight years there has been a DOG at Rumsey Park. Not the tail-wagging kind, but the kind that might make you wag your tail if you had one. The DOG is a Dutch Oven Gathering and the food the participants produce is tail-wagging wonderful. Think chicken enchiladas topped with perfectly melted, lightly browned cheese; beautifully baked bread; pineapple upside down cake and more.

Veteran school finance head leaves for bigger school district

After serving the Payson Unified School District for 16 years as the business manager, Bobette Tomerlin walked out of the district offices for the last time on Monday. “I’ve been blessed to work with the best team,” she said at her last board meeting, tears threatening to fall. Tomerlin has taken a once-in-a-career opportunity to serve as the chief financial officer (CFO) for the Mesa School District.

Rodeo history featured in Rim museum road trip

The Payson Rodeo has been around since 1884. Held every year, even during World War II, it is the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. Learn about its history and story of one of its founders Charlie Meadows.

Great music fuels Fourth of July fun

Music lovers will have an extra reason to celebrate this Fourth of July — the Rim Country’s Fourth of July fun will be fueled by lots of great music. Things get going Friday, July 1 at the First Friday festivities on Historic Main Street in Payson when Junction 87 performs at Bootleg Alley Arts & Antiques.

Payson High to host youth football camp

The opportunity for boys entering grades three through eight to learn to play football the Longhorn way is just over the horizon. It will occur at a youth football camp to be held 9 a.m. to noon July 11 and July 12 on Payson High and Rim Country Middle School playing fields.

Town elk herd requires caution

The front page article reporting the human-cow elk encounter no doubt created much attention in the Payson area. As residents of the Rim Country observing wildlife can be almost an every day occurrence, but last week’s encounter is one for the “believe it or not stories.” Whether its elk, deer, javelinas, mountain lions or bears all will create situations where there are human encounters when they inhabit the same area.

Long-lived football rivalry takes odd turn

It’s one of the most bizarre incidents to ever rock small-town Arizona football. Before explaining the episode, readers must understand the heated rivalry that has gone on for generations in the small towns of Eagar-Springerville and St. Johns — both located just miles apart in eastern Arizona. The sports rivalries between Round Valley High in Eagar and St. Johns High School is intense and passionate as athletes representing the two schools battling for bragging rights.

Rec Roundup

The American Red Cross Dog First Aid training course teaches the immediate and temporary care to give an injured dog until it can receive medical care from a veterinarian.

Ex Horns hanging on to state records

Former Payson High School sports stars Rheanna Martinez, R.C. LaHaye, Whitney Hardt, Bo Althoff, Darren Reid, Todd Reid and Mark Hochstettler have something in common. All are listed in Arizona Interscholastic Association record books as continuing to hold prep sports records. And that’s quite a feat since most of them graduated from Payson High more than a decade ago. Martinez holds the Class 3A triple jump record with a mark of 37 feet, 2-1/2 inches that she set in 2000, her junior year at PHS.

Herring, Smith whip North stars

Like any good running back, former Longhorn star Payson Herring wishes he’d had more carries in the Arizona Football Association 2A-5A North vs. South All-Star game, but he is relishing in the knowledge he was on the winning team. Herring and his South teammates walloped the North 35-7 in the game played June 24 in Surprise Stadium. Herring entered the all-star clash with lofty credentials including being named all-region and all-state in addition to his selection to the prestigious postseason team.

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Big time tournament in Rim Country

ASA softball, once a huge part of the summer recreation scene in Payson, is returning with a bang. It arrives in the form of the ASA Junior Olympic Girls Fast Pitch “B” State Championship tournament that is expected to bring 2,000 to 3,000 players, their parents, fans and game officials to Payson packing restaurants, stores, shops and hotels.

What does the interest rate hike mean to you?

In June 2004, the federal funds rate — the interest rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans — stood at a low 1 percent. Since that time, the Federal Reserve Board raised this rate 10 consecutive times, so that it’s now at 3.5 percent. These rate hikes may make the evening news —but what do they mean to you, as an investor? Before you can answer this question, you need to be somewhat familiar with why the Federal Reserve raises rates in the first place.

Get pampered at the Spa at the Borgata

In February, nail technician Michelle Hagan and cosmetologist Shirley Davis decided to open their own spa, a place focused on delivering excellent service in a relaxing atmosphere.

Clubs and Organizations

The Payson Area Computer Association will hold its regular monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m., Friday, July 1 in the meeting room of Rim Country Health & Retirement Center located at 807 W. Longhorn. The public is welcome. This location is a one-time change due to scheduling conflicts at the library.

Older pets still have years of life, love to give

Mark Twain said it best: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Large numbers of senior pets are available now because of the current economic situation. Owners may have lost their home and are unable to take their dog or cat to an apartment setting. Others may no longer be able to afford the food or even necessary veterinary care. The sad reality is many dogs and cats are often surrendered because their heartbroken owners simply have no other choice.

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Appraiser turned musician riffs on oft-delayed dream

Bob Smolenski completed three careers before finding his true calling in Rim Country

Bob Smolenski understands about life and dreams — and patience. That’s because like many other Rim Country residents, he worked his whole life, pursued three different careers and always put practicalities over passion — until he discovered his art. Now, the appraiser, broker and insurance salesman has returned to his first love — music.

So far Christopher Creek has avoided an impact from forest wildfires

Well it has certainly been a devastating fire season thus far. It is really sad all of the devastation that has happened, and even more discouraging is that nearly all of them appear to be man-made and preventable. Here in Christopher Creek we have been very lucky to not have been directly impacted, but there have been three big fires that did get our attention (the Wallow, the Willow and the Wash).

No end of disasters this summer, so be prepared

Goodness, will there be a reprieve? We have been threatened with fires galore, and North Dakota is about to wash off the map! One of the churches in Minot is pastored by a classmate of mine. Pictures show water to the windowsills. If you have not yet made a donation to one of the many charities accepting money to help out, think about getting out your checkbook. Write an amount out of your generosity and gratefulness.

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Forest roads around Heber Overgaard closed

Forest Service roads are closed in the Black Mesa Ranger District due to a high fire danger. There is a possibility of clouds and isolated thunderstorms in the coming days. Continued dry conditions and very warm days with highs in the mid to upper 80s and lows in the mid 50s. We are expected to have increased cloudiness and a possible 20 to 30 percent chance of rain this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday.

Payson planning to celebrate 235th birthday of United States

“From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee, across the plains of Texas and from sea to shining sea,” over 300 million Americans will celebrate the United States’ independence over this three-day holiday weekend. America’s 235th birthday celebration promises to be another festive affair here in Payson, with Parks and Rec turning Green Valley Park into a patriotic playground of music, food and games.

Here’s hoping it rains sooner rather than later

It’s hard to believe that today is July 1. The summer is just flying by. I hope that we will soon be in the rainy season, and the high heat tempered a bit. One of my readers suggested that the rain may be here in about three weeks, since the clouds just started forming. I hope that it is sooner. The big 4th of July holiday is right around the corner when the barbecue grill gets a workout. What is your favorite? Mine is grilled veggies and burnt hot dogs!

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PHS FFA students honored

Five teens from Payson were recently awarded one the most prestigious honors in FFA — the State Degree. The FFA State Degree is given to the top members of a State FFA Association. Jed Ward, Karly Lann, Jessie James, Angie Lowery and Jessica Stone were presented the award at the June 11 FFA State Leadership Conference in Tucson.