New Columnist On The Block


This is week one for your new columnist. Jodee gave you a short bio last week. I came to Strawberry to semi-retire in 2004. I have since come to wear many new hats, this being the newest. I am excited to bring you the happenings in Strawberry and Pine.

Most importantly, I want to bring you people stories. While calendar events will still be listed, people like reading about people, and my focus will be on people. If you know someone whose story is not widely known, but other folks would be enriched in hearing their story, please let me know. E-mail me at The richness of our communities are our people. Let us spread the wealth of their stories.


The ever faithful news topic is, of course, the weather.

Two weekend snowstorms back to back have wearied many of us. Rebecca Lofano-Masse, a favorite server at the Strawberry Lodge rolled her eyes when asked if we would get more snow this winter and replied, “Probably!”

The prospect also dampened Erica Overton’s mood. Erica is a part-time server at the Lodge. Both she and Rebecca are enrolled in GCC’s nursing program. Erica, also a CNA at PRMC, looks forward to graduation this spring. To brighten the mood, they related the return of Sounds Unlimited to Saturday nights at the Lodge, beginning March 19. They promise that band makes the place jump. Come join the fun.

The weather also brought out the best in some folks. One of my neighbors stopped the plow on Monday and explained about the hedge of snow the plow had just dumped in another neighbor’s drive. These fine men got out of their truck and shoveled her drive. Thanks, guys! And Elmer Lahman, who I found enjoying a cupcake at the Community Center’s Dining Room in Pine, related how his wonderful neighbors, Gary and Mary Ellen Maglione, have kept his drive clear and his windshield scraped. Mary Ellen also grabbed Elmer’s car keys and took him to the emergency room recently when Elmer took sick. Mary Ellen shares special food she makes for her family with Elmer. It is neighbors like this that make this such a wonderful place to live.

Spring is beginning to spring

Between snowstorms, green blades of grass were peeking out and my lilac bushes have tight little buds promising a profusion of color before too long. How we delight in these new beginnings of life! These signs soothe our hearts saddened by the loss of neighbors.

Recently in my neighborhood, we lost two fine men. Charlie Trenasty, 84, passed away a couple of weeks ago. We will miss him, but we will gather Mary into our hearts and along with her family, continue to care for her.

Last Saturday, Neal Morrison, 94, a longtime resident of Strawberry, passed away in Tucson. He had been living there with family for the past few years. He had treasured the short time here during the summer to sit on his deck, in the dappled sunshine through the tall ponderosa and watch the antics of the squirrels.

Though there are those who pass on, there are those here who keep on keeping on. And we keep on looking out for one another, for new buds are forming, green is peeking out, and the Arizona sun will prevail over the stormy clouds of winter.

Did you know

... that a favorite meal at the Community Center Dining Room in Pine is pork chops? This was reported by one of the fine cooks there, Terry Burkhart. Terry has been working there for a little over a year, and her eyes twinkle when she talks about the “regulars.” It was also reported to me that the liver on Monday was especially good.

“Very tender,” related Walter “Stud” Hatfield. His 73rd birthday is on March 14. Party time! Be there. Another birthday is coming up there as well. Elsie Wait will count 90 birthday candles on March 29. What a lively bunch I found there. Along with good food, canasta, poker, movies, and just plain jawin’ are enjoyed at the dining room.

Mike Clark, principal at Pine Elementary School, reports the worst attendance day due to flu/respiratory crud was Feb. 22, with 33 students and five staff members wisely staying home with their illness. Happily, the bug is on its way out, and things are getting back to full strength at the school.

Favorite guys

The Pine Elementary School students are inviting all the special guys in their lives for Donuts for Dads, from 7 to 8 a.m. on March 9 in the school library. Dads, granddads, uncles, nephews and cousins are welcome for donuts and coffee or tea. I know you guys are busy fellows, but our youth need to see wholesome males enjoying time with the kids in the community. Have your morning cuppa there on March 9.

Other calendar events

Saturday, March 5 — celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday at the Pine library on Randall across from the Thrift Shop Back Yard. Refreshments will be available.

Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11 —parent-teacher conferences will be held. Students get out of school at 11:30 a.m. for these important meetings. Parents, mark your calendars.

March 17-25 is spring break at the schools. Classes resume on Monday, March 28. Let me know how you will spend your spring break.

Other calendar events can be found at

Back at you next week, folks. Keep the news coming. Remember, spcolumnist@


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