Stories for September 2011

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Friday, September 30

State: districts must base teacher scores on tests

The Arizona Legislature has once again asserted control over local schools — this time with a new law to dictate how schools evaluate both teachers and principals. The new rules will link pay raises, layoffs and firings directly to whether a teacher’s students improve their scores on standardized tests, Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O’Brien told the school board on Monday.

Supervisors may transfer land for ASU

The crooked path to building a college campus in Payson by 2013 or 2014 now runs through Gila Community College — and a nine-acre parcel owned by Gila County. College backers have abandoned hopes of completing a Forest Service land sale on 260 acres south of Highway 260 in time to build a 1,000-student phase one.

State flinches from grading K-12 schools

At the last minute, department of education postpones issuing grades that would pan 59 percent of schools

Poised on the brink of issuing dismal report cards for the state’s school districts, the Arizona Department of Education this week flinched. As a result, local school districts will continue to critique and negotiate the state’s school rankings, Payson Superintendent Casey O’Brien told the school board Monday. “They now say they’ll release the ratings ‘sometime in the future,’” said O’Brien, who noted that the state had already repeatedly changed the still-confidential draft ratings of each school in the district.

Creek clearing project in Star Valley hung up

A pilot program to remove dead and down vegetation clogging a Star Valley creek is snarled in red tape. The Floodwater Task Force in May unveiled a plan to clear sections of a creek south of Highway 260 of debris and sandbars choking its flow, but the town ran into a snag recently when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it needed a permit.

Veterans want more and better medical services in Payson

Area veterans spoke out about the lack of medical services available to them in Payson at a meeting Monday night. Nearly 180 Rim Country veterans, their families and friends met to talk about a Veterans Administration medical clinic in the area. Many expressed substantial dissatisfaction with what is currently available to them through the office of Dr. Mark Ivey.

Community Almanac

The Payson Elks Lodge is holding its annual yard sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1 in the ramada behind the Lodge, 1206 N. Beeline Highway, Payson. There will be lots of bargains, plus hot dogs, chips and sodas for sale. The event is open to the public.

Family of wounded soldier appreciates efforts of Payson

I would like to express my appreciation to the people of Payson. My son, Sgt. Brian C. Jergens, a medic assigned to the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS, was severely injured on Aug. 7 in the southern region of Afghanistan.

Time to give Forest Service people some credit

It’s time to stop trying to make our Forest Service people look like frog- and owl-loving nutcakes.

It’s time to abandon Keynesian economics

President Obama came to Capitol Hill a few weeks ago to unveil his new stimulus package, a $447 billion “jobs plan.” The president’s idea is to pay for new government spending and temporary tax cuts by permanently raising taxes by $467 billion over 10 years. The largest new tax in the Obama plan would cap income-tax deductions for small businesses and some individuals. As it happens, a Democratic-controlled Senate already rejected this proposal, in 2009, when the Democratic caucus had 60 members — a filibuster-proof majority.

School ‘reform’ doing more harm than good

What a farce. Bar the door and check your wallet: They’re going to fix our schools — again. Newly elected State Superintendent of Education John Huppenthal campaigned on a pledge to place letter grades on our schools, supposedly to spur reform.

Why our forefathers fought so hard for a Bill of Rights

I once sat on a board down in Mesa Public Schools headed by an assistant superintendent who had a genius for slicing through the arguments flying around a room and getting to the heart of the matter. One time we were just about to make a decision when someone objected that if we gave the people involved what they wanted they would want something else, something they didn’t have.

Gila County retailers above state average in tobacco sales to minors

When it comes to the illegal sale of tobacco to minors, Gila County ranks above the state average, according to figures released Wednesday by the state attorney general’s office. After a yearlong undercover study, the odds an underage teen in Gila County can buy cigarettes is about 25 percent with the state fail average just under 15 percent.

School board changes financial review policy

Board members decide they don’t need to get copies of hundreds of pages of spending records every month

The Payson Unified School District Board voted to save themselves time and the district paper by no longer requiring the administration to give each board member a thick binder that every month details the spending at each school. However, each month one school board member will still have the job of paging through the hundreds of pages of invoices and billing records.

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Making dogs rattlesnake smart

Whether or not your dog is a hiking companion or a house dog, it is probably a good idea to have it trained to either alert or avoid snakes. Roger May of Mayday Retrievers in Oxbow Estates presented a program by Jay Smith on rattlesnake avoidance training this weekend. It is something he tries to do once a year, he said. Smith operates Community Dog Training in Oracle, north of Tucson and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, which can be found at www. APDT.com.

College land sale will take 10 months

Even if everything goes perfectly, it will take the U.S. Forest Service at least 10 months to sell 260 acres on which the Rim Country Educational Alliance wants to build a 6,000-student college campus, according to Payson Ranger District Head Ranger Angie Elam. Even then, the Alliance will have to likely foot the bill for a $500,000 environmental assessment, which includes about $150,000 to cover the costs the Forest Service incurs in reviewing that study, said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans. Essentially, the Forest Service will have to go through the same process it did in reviewing the Blue Ridge pipeline project before it can transfer land earmarked for sale by Congress a decade ago.

Sports camp teaches more than court skills

As the grandfather of four children — three girls — who fall in the third- to sixth-grade group, I had my fingers crossed that fall breaks at their Gilbert and Chandler schools would begin during the week of Oct. 3. Sadly, they do not. If they had, a priority for their grandmother, Kay, and I would have been to enroll them in the Fall Break Basketball Camp to be hosted by retired Paradise Valley basketball coach Bill Farrell.

Desert Twilight Festival draws PHS runners

Payson High School cross country teams are at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa today, Sept. 30, competing in one of the largest and most prestigious cross country invitationals in Arizona. It’s the 5th Annual Twilight Festival — a meet that annually attracts the best high school cross country teams from Arizona and around the United States.

Rim Country’s Triangle grapplers win big at Mesa tournament

A band of 13 greenhorn martial artists representing the Payson Triangle Academy has pulled off one of the greatest feats is the history of the sport in Arizona.

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Homecoming a mixed bag

Payson High School football coach Byron Quinlan is facing the nightmarish and perplexing dilemma most all high school coaches face during homecoming week. It involves assessing where individual players’ attentions are during the most celebratory and festive week of the season. Coaches wonder, “Are my players focused on Friday night’s opponent and putting forth a winning effort, or are visions of pep assemblies, crowning of the royalty, parades, dances, float building and class competition dancing in their noggins?”

Thompson, Schaal win PWGA Medallion

July was an exciting month for the Payson Women’s Golf Association. July is the month that the annual Medallion Tournament is held. The tournament runs all four Tuesdays of the month, with golfers turning in their two best 18-hole rounds.

PMGA reps bound for championship

The Payson Men’s Golf Association representatives in the Arizona Golf Association State Championship two-man scramble have been selected via a local qualifying tournament. Ron Fischer and Bill Shedd will compete in the Super Senior, 70-years-plus division, having advanced by virtue of the 5.08 net score. Larry Smith and Chip Yeoman are destined for the gross qualifying with a card of 64. Troy Neal and Ed Flores advance to state as a low net qualifier with a 53.7.

Clubs and Organizations

“Breakfast for a Buck” will be served at Ponderosa Bible Church, 1800 N. Beeline Highway, at 8 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 1 for the Ponderosa Men’s Breakfast.  Kevin Ritter and his team will prepare breakfast, while the featured speaker will be Ed Warwick.  Come to enjoy great fellowship, a super message and a complete breakfast that still costs only $1.

Winter clothing drive to benefit Payson Community Kids

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Payson is collecting new or gently used coats, hats, scarves and gloves during its first Winter Clothing Drive.

Remarriage may require refocus on financial goals

If you’re planning to get remarried, you have plenty of company: More than 40 percent of all U.S. weddings are second marriages for at least one of the participants, according to an estimate by the National Stepfamily Resource Center. Naturally, a second marriage will bring many changes to your life — not the least of which may be changes in your financial strategy and goals.

Woman uses alternative practices to heal body and mind

Nagging pain or thoughts are one woman’s specialty. Shiranda Deerwoman doesn’t suffer from these ailments, she helps cure them. Using a blend of alternative healing modalities, Deerwoman has seen the “amazing” results a few simple exercises and tools can make. “It is really exciting work for me,” she said of transformational kinesiology. “I came upon it in 1992 with my formal background in teaching and counseling.”

Who knew we were so lucky? Part 3

By the time my plane landed in Quito Ecuador, I was absolutely elated to finally be in South America. Quito had a chill in its air and its altitude was sheer shock to my body. I hadn’t previously planned anywhere to stay for the night, so I whipped out my handy guidebook and chose a local backpacker hostel to stay for the night.

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Another year older, but at a new viewpoint

It was days before my birthday and I had the bright idea of camping at the Grand Canyon and riding the rim by bicycle to celebrate. Birthdays have always been a funny beast. Mix in part nostalgia for younger, more carefree years, dread of what is to come mixed in with a dash of excitement and you get a lumpy, over thought cake. After loading up our car, we drove four hours through the night, cutting past ghostly aspens near the base of the San Francisco Peaks and on to the flat as pancake plains outside Tusayan. The never-ending darkness had nearly lulled us into a stupor when an orange flashing light at the Grand Canyon visitor gate rocked us out of our cradles and back to life.

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Donations, volunteers needed to complete community library work

The seasonal temperatures continue to edge lower as the days progress toward winter. Some shrubbery and sensitive plants are waning into the fall colors. Some pockets of near freezing temperatures are starting to occur. Our daily highs stand in the mid 70s with lows in the mid 40s. The Heber Overgaard Rim Community Library that was opened five years ago and serves Heber Overgaard and the surrounding area has recently undergone expansion.

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Lots of opportunities to keep busy in Pine, Strawberry

Have you ever heard anyone say, “There’s nothing to do in a small town”? True there’s no hustle and bustle. We have no stoplights, follow landmarks and don’t know street names. There’s a grocery store, hardware store, post office, a few restaurants, bars, and shops. Strawberry and Pine are small towns, but they have numerous amenities nearby like hiking, cycling, off-roading, fishing, hunting and boating. The great outdoors offers limitless opportunities for adventure. Likewise, the community groups provide many more opportunities to be creative, participate in activities, and help your neighbors.

Searching for supermodels can be extremely dangerous

The Internet is full of scams, viruses and unwanted surprises. But don’t be surprised if you search for a celebrity and wind up in the middle of a whole lot of trouble. McAfee, a computer security software company, has released its “most dangerous searches” list, and if you’re not careful, your search for a Project Runway recap involving Heidi Klum, for example, might just be the thing that lets a virus loose in your computer.

Fixing e-mail problems was a three-day joyride

Suddenly. Very suddenly. One minute my NPG (now taken over by Suddenlink) e-mail was working just fine. Then, suddenly last week — poof! No more e-mail service. No ability to send or receive e-mails. And this after my call to Suddenlink three weeks prior, receiving reassurance that my account was all set to handle the big changeover that was looming ahead. What a three-day joyride it was trying to get through to a live Suddenlink tech to resolve my e-mail dilemma. When Suddenlink’s main number wasn’t buzzing with busyness, I was on hold for hours on end, listening to the company’s often repeated message — “Suddenlink — just keeps on getting better!”

Weather is great, but rainfall is lacking by two inches

The weather is perfect. We are having really chilly nights (in the low 40s) and nice, warm days. What could be better. At night the windows can be open and we can actually have a light blanket over us. Autumn officially arrived on Sept. 23 to higher than normal daytime temperatures but has since leveled out. Some of the trees in the Village have already started to turn a golden color. The only downside to the weather is the lack of significant rainfall from this year’s monsoon.

Wednesday, September 28

Getaway around Rim Country

The Humane Society of Central Arizona and PAWS in the Park are partnering with Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge to provide a low-cost spay and neuter clinic for felines and canines through the Healing Hearts Mobile Surgical Unit, which will be in Payson on Thursday, Sept. 29. In order to reduce the numbers of animals, which through no fault of their own are homeless, abandoned or mistreated, spay and neuter of all companion animals is of utmost importance.

Make fall gutter cleaning safer, easier

Nobody enjoys gutter cleaning. Yet it’s much more important than many homeowners think. Rain flowing over windows, doors and siding can rot fascia as well as door and window framing. It can erode the soil around your home and damage its foundation, and also cause a wet basement, mold and mildew

Getting your home ready for winter

The change in seasons should bring about more than just a change of wardrobe. It’s important to check out your appliances and home systems now in order to help prevent unnecessary repairs when you need those systems the most.

Fall care for heat-damaged yards

Extreme weather over the summer left a lot of lawns and landscapes showing signs of damage. With some time, patience and work, it’s possible to get your yard back in order and ready for the winter.

How to keep warmth in, pests out

When the temperature drops, people aren’t the only ones looking for ways to stay warm. Pests seek warmth indoors, too. Protect your home from unwanted visitors this winter with these simple home preparedness tips from Terminix, the country’s largest provider of pest control services.

Prepare your fireplace for the season

People looking to embrace the cold-weather season often find snuggling up in front of a roaring fire is both relaxing and warming. Fireplaces are popular components of homes across the country. Ensuring fireplaces are prepared for a season of use is important from a safety standpoint and for personal comfort as well.

Fire extinguisher know-how

Fire extinguishers are an important safety component in any home or building. They can mean the difference between a devastating fire or a minor incident. Although a fire extinguisher in the hands of a trained adult can be a life- and property-saving tool, many people are not properly skilled in the use of fire extinguishers.

Cleaning challenges: minimizing the mess

It can be a challenge to keep the house clean, especially for busy families. When the kids are home from school, it means more dirt, mud and sand get tracked in, whether it’s from sports practice or backyard fun. Pets add to the mess, too. In fact, a recent study conducted by the NPD Group revealed more than half of pet owners (51 percent) reported that managing and cleaning up pet hair is their number one cleaning chore.

Flyers rights improved

Airlines have enjoyed much freedom with respect to how they run their operations as well as compensation for flight delays, refunds, changing already booked reservations, and air fare add-ons that include baggage fees, pillow and blanket charges, on-board meals etc. Many of these items now fall under new regulations as imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and for the most part are more consumer-friendly.

Treating an overactive thyroid

What health problems are caused as a result of an overactive gland?

Fast, simple DIY projects

Call the family and grab the toolbox. Do-it-yourself projects can become a family affair this fall. According to a recent survey by economists at the University of California, there is a trend of parents looking for ways to spend even more time with their children. A DIY project offers the perfect activity mix for spending happy, productive, cost-effective time together to accomplish a common family goal.

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Room redos for $100 or less

Only on TV would a redecorating budget of a couple thousand dollars be considered “shoestring.” In the real world, most of us have a lot less than that to spend on redoing a room.

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Take home from summer to fall

Fall accessorizing trends: mustard, paisley, fabrics and more

Bringing your home from summer to fall is simpler than you think. It all begins with taking inventory of your home to determine which nonessential items you can eliminate or switch and where you can add.

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Serve a sensational salad

On weeknights packed with errands and activities it’s smart to be well-stocked with simple dinner solutions. A satisfying salad makes a great quick, convenient meal. So throw on your sombrero and try this recipe for Mexicali Chicken Caesar Salad, a new spin on the classic Caesar that the whole family will love.

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Update your bathroom in a weekend

Not everyone has the time or money to undergo a complete bathroom renovation, but there are some simple and cost effective ways to make your bathroom as good as new in a short amount of time, and at a fraction of the cost. Waterpik® and Kelly Edwards, designer from HGTV’s “Design on a Dime,” have some ideas and tips that can be used to update any bathroom in less than two days, and for $200 or less.

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Prep your home for months indoors

Shorter days and cooler nights mean more time spent indoors. For many Americans, this is the perfect season to take simple steps toward a cleaner and more efficient home. According to a recent survey by the Cleaning Institute Organization, 96 percent of people think it’s very important to have a clean home. But with family obligations, busy work schedules and extracurricular activities, we sometimes fall short. Here are some useful tips to help prepare your home for the indoor months ahead, making it a fresher and more enjoyable place to be.

Tuesday, September 27

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College land sale meeting draws support

More than 100 people left comments at Saturday’s Forest Service open house supporting the quick sale of 300 acres on which Payson hopes to build a 6,000-student campus. Hundreds of people filtered past the maps and charts in the Best Western conference room on Saturday afternoon. The presentations detailed the Payson Ranger District’s plan to sell to the Separate Legal Entity building the campus some 260 acres. The district will then use the money from the land sale to build a new ranger station and administrative offices on about 40 acres near the current Payson Ranger Station and to consolidate its fire-fighting operations on another 40-acre parcel adjacent to the current Gila County Maintenance Yard.

SV continues negotiations to purchase water firm

Star Valley officials will continue negotiations for the Payson Water Company in Star Valley Wednesday, a week after buying three wells from Payson. Town Attorney Tim Grier and Councilor Vern Leis will meet with Brooke Utilities President Robert Hardcastle in hopes of striking a deal for the water company. If one is worked out, Star Valley would finally have rights to distribute water to residents, possibly from the wells it bought from Payson.

Payson police officer resigns to avoid disciplinary action

The sudden resignation of a Payson police officer last month has delivered another blow to a department shaken by demotions and disciplinary action. Sgt. John Heflin stepped down Aug. 24 in lieu of termination after Chief Don Engler learned Heflin had consumed alcohol at least two times while on duty. Both times, Heflin claimed, he drank only one beer while on his dinner break.

Payson collects $135,000 animal control windfall from county

Payson reaped a budget windfall recently with a one-time, $135,000 payment from Gila County to help provide animal control and rabies services. The $135,000 payment will help to cover the cost of preventing the spread of rabies by rounding up stray dogs and monitoring for infected wildlife, since foxes, bats, skunks and other animals can carry the lethal virus. Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said the town doesn’t currently have a rabies problem and the payment represents a quick shuffle of funds to make a payment on an overdue promise to the town.

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Forest Service letting wildfires burn

Thousands of acres in the Tonto National Forest continued to burn over the weekend. Ironically enough, Forest Service rangers couldn’t be happier. Instead of rushing to douse the flames, forest managers are mostly taking advantage of the cool conditions to let the fires burn — mindful of the growing body of research demonstrating the value of low-intensity fires at the right time of the year. Recent studies have demonstrated that such low-intensity, controlled burns actually increase the diversity of plants and wildlife in the forest. Another recent study of tree-ring data going back hundreds of years has underscored that Southwestern forests have adapted to fire frequencies as often as once every two years.

Community Almanac

International acrobatic superstars, the Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats, will bring their dazzling and daring program of formidable feats to the Payson High School Auditorium at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27. Single tickets are $35 (if seating is available). Children and youth, grades 12 and under, will be admitted free when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. For more information, go to www.tccarim.org or call (928) 478-4363 or (928) 474-4189.

A club for children

Once upon a time, a group of citizens got together in a small mountain community to form a club for children. Their goal was to provide a recreational outlet, foster friendship and have fun.

Volunteers do it for the animals

We, the Penny Ante Volunteers of Rim Country and Tonto Basin, have struggled for many years to provide room and board for hundreds of discarded cats and dogs.

Dog Day in the Park was a success

Dog Day in the Park was a howling success, thanks to the dogs and their people who attended and our generous sponsors and venders

Thanking those who made Honor Flight possible

As a World War II veteran, I want to thank Honor Flight Arizona for flying us to Washington, D.C. and conducting a three-day tour of the memorials dedicated to all our veterans.

Thanks for a successful quad run

On behalf of the Justice McNeeley Foundation we would like to extend our gratitude to all of the local people and businesses, in the Payson and Pine/Strawberry areas for the generous donations to this organization.

Another dry winter predicted for Rim Country

The return of extra-cool surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean could produce another dry winter for Arizona — renewing the grip of a decade-long drought on the Southwest. The cool La Niña conditions in the Pacific typically shift winter storm tracks north of Arizona say forecasters. That means despite a brief, near-normal return to normal last year, the mega-drought that set its teeth in the state back in 1999 isn’t ready to let us go.

Sensible biologists make us hopeful

First a confession: We love sappy movies, where the struggling hero triumphs against all odds through pluck and perseverance in the final scene. Further, we’re sadly prone to optimism of the most cockeyed sort. Still, we could not help but take heart from the page one story last Friday reporting the amazingly common sense reactions of United States Fish and Wildlife Service to the biological assessment of the Blue Ridge pipeline. Thank you: We could not have endured an extended journey down the rabbit hole of bureaucracy.

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Middle school students learn art of diplomacy

RCMS participants stand out at California convention that models United Nations

Lindsey Wala was in her element, negotiating and building partnerships. The strawberry blonde, Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) seventh-grader charmed a group of high schoolers with her animated discussion on human rights, winning her recognition at the South Orange County Model United Nations, (SOCOMUN) 20th annual conference.

Jesse Davies earns officer of the year honor from Sons of the American Revolution

Although relatively new to the force, Payson Police officer Jesse Davies has earned a stellar reputation. When it came time for officer of the year nominations, he was top on the list of recommendations. On Monday, the Rim Country Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution honored Davies as the Northern Gila County Officer of the Year.

Payson council rebuffs school plea for fee break

Town insists on $840 inspection fee for rope course after series of miscommunications

The Payson Town Council last week rejected an appeal for mercy from the Payson Unified School District and imposed an $840 inspection fee on the district’s just completed rope course. The council reduced the potential fee from nearly $5,300 and instead imposed a fee intended to cover the town’s direct costs. Those costs include the $440 bill from an outside engineer the town consulted since its own building inspectors had no idea how the network of ropes connected to concrete-footed poles ought to be constructed. The council’s vote capped a confusing, sometimes painful series of miscommunications between the town and the school district.

Learn about changes in AHCCCS

Learn how the changes to AHCCCS affect you as an individual or healthcare provider. A program on AHCCCS changes will be presented at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the Payson Care Center main dining room. Payson Care Center is at 107 E. Lone Pine Dr., Payson.

Retiring in 2012? Apply now!

Plan to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits in January of 2012? We recommend you apply this October if you’d like your benefits to begin in January.

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Senior Circle events

Several special programs are planned at the Payson Regional Medical Center Senior Circle in the coming weeks. This week, Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to noon, there will be a program on Medicare Fraud for the Lunch and Learn session. Donna Card, benefits specialist from the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, will be the guest speaker. She will provide a brief overview of the agency’s services, benefits and entitlements for Medicare beneficiaries. Her main topic will be Medicare Fraud. 

Ten things that could spur housing industry

Realtor: Steps would add some 15,000 jobs to the state

State Senator Sylvia Allen recently spoke to the Central Arizona Board of Realtors and related how increasing rules, regulations and government red tape is harming the country and Arizona. To the credit of the state Legislature, they recently passed legislation that prevents municipalities from requiring fire sprinklers in homes.

Cafe and bar in Young rises from the ashes after fire

The Antlers Café and Bar, at 46788 N. Highway 288 in Young, is open once again. A January 2010 fire destroyed the historic landmark, burning it to the ground and leaving nothing behind. The site sat desolate until Valley chef Scott Tompkins and his wife Pam Tompkins got involved. The Tompkins had a new, 4,000-square-foot restaurant built.

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Get spinning at new yarn shop in Payson plaza

Village Wools celebrated its grand opening in Payson in July after moving from Pine. Owner Maureen Garlausky said the move has been a great success with customers flocking to the new, larger shop, previously called the Pine Yarn Shop.

Missing man found dead

The body of a Round Valley man missing for a week was found Saturday by a hiker. William M. Allen, 55, walked away from his Round Valley home Sept. 18 after notifying a friend he was going into the woods. After he left, Allen contacted family and friends through text message, but communication stopped around 4 p.m. Sept. 18.

Domestic violence shelter plans march for victims

Bolstered by a town of Payson proclamation, the Time Out Domestic Violence Shelter plans a candlelight vigil this month for the victims of domestic violence — which remains a tragically common event in Rim Country. Advocates will gather at Town Hall on Oct. 5 for the vigil and walk to the Methodist Church, the highlight of the now officially declared “Domestic Violence Month” in Payson.

Clubs and Organizations

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

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Lady Horns face rocky road to state

Life in the newly created Division III is turning into a unique challenge for Lady Longhorn volleyball players. The confront is because reaching the promised land of the “state” tournament is much more difficult this year than it has been in past seasons. Since the Arizona Interscholastic Association this school year did away with the conference/region configuration and replaced it with divisions and sections, the Lady Horns, and other teams for that matter, are finding the going rough because smaller schools, like Payson, are now playing much larger schools.

Payson High celebrating Homecoming this week

Homecoming week tipped off yesterday, Sept. 26, at Payson High School with a “Nerd Day” spirit opening. Today is “SuperStar/Hero Day” and tomorrow, Wednesday is “Career Day.” Thursday is “Color Day” and Friday is “Black Out” with students being asked to dress in all-black clothing. On color day, freshmen are to dress in pink, sophomores in green, juniors blue and seniors red. Teachers are to wear purple and gold.

Horns collapse against Weeks-led Cougars

A series of special teams blunders and the play of Show Low’s BYU-bound Josh Weeks spelled the demise of the Longhorn football team in a 30-12 loss to the home standing and defending state champion Show Low Cougars. The miscues included a blocked field goal in the first quarter when both teams were in a scoreless deadlock. The mistakes continued with a SL safety scored after the ball was snapped over the Payson punter’s outstretched hands. That led to a 9-0 Show Low lead.

Coaching legend to head youth camp

One of the finest prep coaches in Arizona basketball history has agreed to host the upcoming Fall Break Basketball Camp to be held 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Oct. 3 through Oct. 6 in Wilson Dome. Retired Paradise Valley boys basketball coach Bill Farrell is the legend who will bring his considerable experience to his position as camp director. Farrell is one of the most recognized and respected names in prep basketball circles, having reaped about every coaching honor possible.

2011 season is winding down for PMGA

Playing in a “best three balls of four players” formatted tournament hosted by the Payson Men’s Golf Association, the veteran foursome of Larry Smith, Ken Althoff, Ralph Lindo and John Calderwood rallied to a firstplace finish with a 193. The tournament was played Sept. 21 at Payson Golf Course. While the battle for first was clear-cut, the struggles for second and third place ended in a tie with both teams posting identical scores of 195.

Eastbound Interstate 10 in Phoenix closed at US 60 Friday and Saturday

Expect delays, use alternate routes in southeast Valley

Eastbound I-10 (toward Tucson) will be closed between U.S. 60 (Superstition Freeway) and Loop 202 (Santan Freeway) from 10 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Monday, September 26

Fire in Sierra Anchas continues

Pleasant Valley Ranger District fire specialists are managing the lightning-caused Tanner wildfire, now about 3,400 acres, which began on August 20, near the Armer Mountain peak in the Sierra Anchas.

Friday, September 23

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Veterinarian celebrates first year

Veterinarian Nicole Savage celebrated the one-year anniversary since she took over as owner of the Pine Country Animal Clinic with colleagues and community supporters in August.

Pipeline biologist says he has no great concerns

USFWS officials say they do not see any serious impacts

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials say they don’t think Payson’s Blue Ridge pipeline will have an impact on any endangered species, and expect to conclude their review of a key environmental study within the next three weeks. “We are not overly concerned about the effect of this pipeline on either the Chiricahua Leopard Frog or the Mexican Spotted Owl, but we have to go through the process,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Field Supervisor Steve Sprangle.

Superintendent to lobby for district

Board member objects to ‘being caught off guard’

The Payson School Board once again designated Superintendent Casey O’Brien its official legislative lobbyist — despite the qualms of board member Kim Pound. The designation allows the superintendent to meet with state lawmakers and represent the district. That has been an especially important job in the past several years as school districts statewide have fought a losing battle to stave off ever-deeper state cuts in support for education.

Redistricting committee frustrated with map plan

The Gila County Board of Supervisors Tuesday rejected the widely supported redistricting plan proposed by the Tonto Apache Tribe and instead agreed to focus on three supervisorial maps that will make only minor changes in current district boundaries. Ironically, while rejecting any change that would reduce the number of Hispanic and Native American voters in the supervisorial districts, they also agreed to make additional changes in district lines for Gila Community College that resulted in “packing” too many minority voters in a single district.

Tonto Bridge park visitor numbers rebounding

Arizona State Parks employees transformed into sales agents Tuesday, leading an open house tour of a historic lodge at one of the area’s best-known landmarks in an attempt to entice a concessionaire into taking over operations. The lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge has largely gone unused since the parks department bought it in 1991. The stunning, three-story building features a gift shop, dining room, 10 guest rooms on a middle level and an upper story with panoramic views of the Pine Creek Valley.

Community Almanac

Listen to great fiddle music from musicians ranging in age from 3 to 65+ at the Old Time Fiddle Fest held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 25 at Payson Event Center. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. and admission is $5 per day. The championship competition will be held Sunday.

Fossil Creek Creamery Farm Dinner was wonderful event

Fossil Creek Creamery’s Farm Dinner 2011 was a wonderful event, which successfully raised much-needed funds to help protect the Pine Strawberry area in the event of catastrophic wildfire.

SemStream raises off-pipeline propane users by 25 percent

Thank you for reporting that the Arizona Corporation Commission does not regulate SemStream Propane’s rate structure for customers who are not on the Payson pipeline.

Time to elect Republicans

Just a year ago President Obama spent almost a trillion dollars of borrowed money to support the teachers union (a heavy contributor to his campaign), to support the SEIU, the notorious public employees union and other plump-cat supporters of his.

The consequences of broken promises

wo-and-a-half years ago, President Obama made a bold promise as he prepared to sign his just-passed $1 trillion stimulus plan. “[The stimulus will lift] 2 million Americans from poverty by ensuring that anyone who works hard does not have to raise a child below the poverty line,” he said. “This plan will help poor and working Americans pull themselves into the middle class in a way we haven’t seen in nearly 50 years.” Yet, data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of Americans living below the poverty line has not decreased by 2 million, as the president promised — rather, that number has actually increased by 2.6 million since 2009. That brings the total number of Americans living in poverty up to 46.2 million, the highest number ever recorded.

Redistricting: The fix is in

Once again, politics and legalisms seem poised to trump common sense and the public good. On any given day, that sums up developments in Washington, D.C. Sadly, today it applies to Gila County. This week, two members of the Gila County Board of Supervisors signaled their willingness to play politics behind a smokescreen of lawyers. Specifically, the board rejected a redistricting map that would reflect population shifts in favor of a lopsided gerrymander. But thanks to the tortured rationalizations of the county’s hired consultants, the board majority hopes to blame it all on the Voting Rights Act. Nonsense.

The challenge of poverty/beating the odds

Schooling takes place in the context of the socio-economic realities of the times and Payson is certainly no exception. The demographic changes in our student population over the last several years have been exceptional by any standard of measurement and these changes have and will continue to challenge our teachers, schools and district. Understanding these changes is crucial in being prepared to meet the challenges.

Leave it to beavers down in Argentina

The bad news? The Forest Service screwed up. Again. The good news? Wasn’t our Forest Service. Nope. Wasn’t ours. Was the Argentinian Forest Service. So why are we worried about it?

Mogollon Health Alliance CEO steps down

After working full-time many years, Judy Baker has announced she will be starting a new chapter in her life. Baker steps down as CEO of the Mogollon Health Alliance (MHA), a position she has held for much of the past decade. Baker has guided the organization from one employee to several and extended its influence throughout the community.

Fear of losses can lead to poor investment choices

Like every other investor, you prefer not to see the value of your investments drop. But at some point they will fall simply because of the ups and downs of the market. And how you respond to short-term losses can help determine if you enjoy long-term investment success. Investors’ feelings about losses can be complex. In the field of economics, an area of study is devoted to “loss aversion” — the concept that people dislike losing money so much that, given a choice, they’d prefer to avoid losses rather than take gains. For example, if you have a high degree of loss aversion, then you will find greater dissatisfaction by losing $100 than you’d get satisfaction from taking a $100 profit.

Chinese acrobats open 2011-2012 TCCA season

Expect acrobatic displays, formidable feats of daring and balance, explosive energy, brilliant costumes and a touch of Chinese comedy when the Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats open the 2011-2012 season of the Tonto Community Concert Association. For more than a quarter of a century, The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats have been a high-energy attraction for hundreds of universities and performing arts centers. This 12- to 15-member troupe flawlessly interpret the precision and grace of an art form honed by centuries of discipline and training.

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Veteran building trades instructor wins education award

In Richard Alvarez’s room, a huge elk head juts from the wall. He shot the elk two years ago and had the head mounted by a former student, Matt Johnston — who turned his classroom skills into a career. One day, the elk head crashed to the floor and needed repairs. Instead of simply sending it out to get fixed, Alvarez brought Johnston into the classroom to demonstrate taxidermy in action.

Volleyball stats no easy feat to calculate

PHS volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink methodically relies on statistics to monitor progress of the team and individual players. Checking team service percentages as well as individual player percentages helps coaches evaluate each player and her effectiveness. There are several statistics involved in determining a serve percentage. Those statistics are compiled from charts kept by managers or assistants during the games.

Friend steps up for former teammate

Waylon Pettet wants to honor his former teammate and friend Mike Barr who unexpectedly died July 25, 2010 at 25 years of age. Pettet figures one of best ways to pay homage to the former Payson High School three-sport star is to participate in the Mike Barr Memorial Coed Softball Tournament. Those who enter the tournament or the associated home run derby can do so knowing all profits from the frays will benefit PHS extracurricular activities.

College land sale meeting Saturday

Advocates hope Payson college supporters will come out in force on Saturday, to support a Forest Service plan to sell a nearly 300-acre parcel crucial to the campus. The Payson Ranger District will seek public comments during an open house at the Best Western Payson Inn from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on its plan to sell the Rim Country Educational Alliance about 260 acres where backers want to build a 6,000-student Arizona State University campus.

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Small town, big heart and don’t forget the apples

The beautiful scenery and country charm of Pine is a perfect setting for a fall festival with mountains, forest, deer, horses, old barns, pioneer homes and museum, antique shops, quaint restaurants, and did I mention apples? Just 15 miles north of Payson on Highway 87 is the place to be this weekend, Sept. 24 and 25, for good, old-fashioned family fun at the fall Apple Festival.

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Objection period for Rim Lakes Forest Restoration project has started

A definitive change in the feel of the weather is on hand in the mornings and evenings as our temperatures begin to fall. Our nighttime temperatures are reaching into the mid 40s signaling the impending arrival of fall weather. A rogue, almost stationary thunderstorm visited just north of the Heber Overgaard area Tuesday.

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Final brush pick-up for Thompson Draw I, II

I have gone out every morning to look at my apple trees and it seems that each day that passes brings the apples closer to being picked. Then my work will be cut out for me, I normally make apple butter in my crock pot and apple sauce to can for the winter. I intend to bake a few apple pies and try my hand at dehydrating them also. There is an over abundance of the apple crop this year. The frost has done its dirty work to kill the buds for the past five years. I will be canning as long as my jars and stamina hold up.

Two-day apple festival takes place in Pine this weekend

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! And what better way to keep the good ol’ doc away than to load up on the different apple products that will be featured at this weekend’s 4th Annual Fall Apple Festival in Pine. This family event promises to feature food, shopping, music, fall colors and changing foliage, vendors, a greased pole climb, a pie throw for the kids — and, of course, lots and lots of apple pies. And if you’d like to learn how to line dance, there will even be an instructor on hand to show you the ropes (I mean steps).

Holiday food drives have started in Christopher Creek

Hello again, fellow Creekers. I bumped into Jeff and Dee Daniels the other day and they reminded me that the Holiday food drive has started. Donations of food (turkeys, canned food, holiday favorites, etc.) can be dropped off at the Tall Pines Market, the Landmark @ the Creek or the Christopher-Kohl’s fire station. All donations will be delivered to folks in time for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Beginnings of the Old Time Fiddle Festival

There are a couple of different stories about how the Payson Old Time Fiddle Festival was founded. As Jerry Floyd remembers it, it came about from impromptu jam sessions at the clubhouse at the KOA Campground on Highway 260, which was originally built by his parents, J.W. and Vertilee Floyd. “Mom would hear music coming from the campsites and went to investigate. Then she invited the musicians to come up to the building (club house) and play. Sometimes they’d play inside if the weather was bad, other times they’d play on the porch,” he said in an interview with the Roundup this week.

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Fiddle music comes to Rim

Fall has been welcomed into the Rim Country by the sound of fiddle music for more than 40 years. This year will be no different. The 41st Annual Old Time Fiddle Festival is Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Payson Event Center. Before the fiddlin’ fireworks start, a special Old Time Opry concert is planned at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23 at the Payson High School Auditorium. The concert features The Desert Sons, The HillBenders and Run Boy Run, which is based in Tucson and plays acoustic, folk and roots music.

Old Time Opry features local talent

There will be some local faces gracing the stage at the Payson High School Auditorium when the Old Time Opry opens the weekend of the 41st Annual Vertilee Floyd Memorial Old Time Fiddle Festival. The Old Time Opry is at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23 and admission is just $5 per person.

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.

End of Summer series: Who knew we were so lucky? Part Two

If you saw the previous HSCAZ article, you know how compassionate our community is toward animals. Payson is full of people who love to walk their dogs, groom their dogs and do anything that has to do with their dogs, and we can’t forget about our cat lovers out there. HSCAZ knows a cat lover when we meet them. Cat lovers cherish the acrobatic movements and eclectic antics of their feline friends, but both cat and dog lovers are the reason why HSCAZ is able to succeed and continue its mission. HSCAZ wants to say “thank you” while sharing the international world of animal welfare with you. So please enjoy the continuation of the End of Summer Series

Grant helps library expand class offerings for residents

At the end of her first two-hour Photoshop Elements tutorial class, Patricia Petteruti had “popped” out a section of a photograph. A chicken now seemed to jump off the laptop’s screen and into the Payson Public Library. Patricia hadn’t expected to learn anything beyond basic cropping Thursday night, but now delighted at her new skill. Working at a nearby laptop, her husband, Thomas Petteruti, had taken a normal beach scene and cropped it in such a way to make the water seemingly run off the edge using Elements vast tool bag.

Search for missing man called off

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office has called off a search for a Round Valley man missing since Sunday. Sgt. Terry Hudgens is releasing few details on the man, but confirmed Thursday afternoon he had called off searchers after they found no new clues to the man’s whereabouts. More than 30 rescuers, including Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, the mounted posse, sheriff’s deputies and a helicopter crew looked for the man for four days.

September Fest will benefit wounded soldier

Sgt. Brian C. Jergens, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, may not be a Rim Country boy, but he has plenty of family here. His grandparents, Gary and Roxy, his sister, Darcy, 21, his uncle, Scott, and cousins Haydn, 15, and Adam, 14, are all residents. That family, along with Jergens’ parents, Brian K. and Marilyn, will benefit from the September Fest being planned by members of Payson Professionals at Your Service (P.A.Y.S.). The September Fest is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24 in front of the offices of Dan Good Flooring and Chitwood Cabinets, 810 and 812 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, across from the Best Western.

Desert Christian runs past Lady Horns

Desert Christian’s sizzling team speed was too much for the Lady Longhorns soccer team to overcome in a 5-1 loss to the Tucson school. In the game, which was played Sept. 17 at Rumsey Park, Payson played what coach Amy Wilcox is calling “a great first half” mostly because high-powered DC was held to a single goal to lead 1-0 at halftime.

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Lady Longhorns bound for Lobo land

With a goal of showing well in their third tournament of the 2011 season, the Lady Longhorn volleyball team heads to Snowflake today, Sept. 23. On Sept. 2-3, PHS finished fourth in the 21-team Payson Invitational and followed it up with a third place effort on Sept. 10 in the Flagstaff Coconino Invitational.

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Group breathes new life into Rim pioneer celebration

Six years ago a group of men who once starred in multiple sports at Payson High School gathered in Roy Haught’s Star Valley home to ponder their concerns over the loss of the pioneer or “cowboy” culture in the Rim Country. A common thread running through the discussions was that the tradition of annually paying a fitting tribute to local pioneers had fallen by the wayside mostly because the Tonto Cowbelles had disbanded.

Thursday, September 22

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PHS teacher earns prestigious award

Since 1998, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) has recognized talented educators in the Maricopa County area. For the first time, CPLC has expanded the Esperanza Latino Teacher Awards statewide and Payson High School's Richard Alvarez has been selected as an extraordinary educator.

Wednesday, September 21

Put produce on your plate for less

Do you eat enough fruits and vegetables every day? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans should fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables. Most people don’t come near that amount. In fact, nearly 90 percent of Americans fall short of the recommended daily servings of vegetables and 80 percent fall short of daily fruit servings. But it’s easier - and more delicious - than you might think to make food choices that can help your whole family live a healthier lifestyle.

Fiddle music welcomes fall to the Rim

Fall has been welcomed into the Rim Country by the sound of fiddle music for more than 40 years. This year will be no different. The 41st Annual Old Time Fiddle Contest is Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Payson Event Center. Before the fiddlin’ fireworks start, a special Old Time Opry concert is planned at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23 at the Payson High School Auditorium. The concert features The Desert Sons, The HillBenders and Run Boy Run, which is based in Tucson and plays acoustic, folk and roots music.

Zane Grey’s lasting impact

Zane Grey was an American author who wrote an extensive amount of fiction centered in the west, and who also traveled the world, telling stories of the exotic places that he visited. Amongst the places he spent a great deal of time in was the area around Payson, an area that did not have main line roadways during the time he spent here. Traditionally, fall was a time for Grey to come and hunt in this area, while also gathering material for his novels. Thus, it’s a good time of year to look at his lasting impact on the region.

Time to plan your winter cruise

Becoming more popular every year is cruising during the winter months. The folks residing in the Midwest and East want to escape the cold winter weather and often choose to cruise right after the Christmas holidays. The Caribbean is the most popular, with the Pacific and South Pacific gaining in popularity. Cruising is big with Californians and much of the west, also. The Mexican Riviera was quite popular until two years ago when the drug lords began to shoot up towns and cities killing hundreds of people. There are still a couple cruise line ships sailing from Los Angeles and San Diego to Mexico, but more and more people are looking to other warm weather areas in which to cruise. I don’t blame them.

Airliners of yesteryear

Ever since I was a kid I have been interested in trains, planes and automobiles. My father used to drive me to the airport in Los Angeles (LAX) and park at the end of the runway so I could watch takeoffs and landings of the airliners. This was always interesting to me and I believe my dad enjoyed it also or he would have probably not taken me there so frequently.

Getaway around Rim Country

The September mixer for the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Payson Care Center. Admission is $3 members; $5 community. The “Hula Your Feet Off” theme of the mixer is backed up by music by DJ Craig, Hawaiian-style “Poo-Poos” (light finger food), Piña Coladas (virgin), various health tests, and great door prizes.

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PHS Drama opens season

The Payson High School drama department opens its 2011-2012 season with a production of “Addict” by Jerome McDonough.

Annual Pioneer Dinner and Dance

The always-popular annual Gila County Pioneers Dinner and Dance is from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Tonto Apache Gym. Admission is only $10 per person for an old-fashioned barbecue dinner with all the trimmings, a dance and auction.

Good 2 Go

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will host the 4th annual “Friends of the Poor” walk in Payson Saturday, Sept. 24. Participants will walk in solidarity throughout the country to increase awareness and raise money to assist those in need.

Tuesday, September 20

Tonto National Monument waives entrance fees for lands day

Tonto National Monument will be joining national park sites across the country in celebrating National Public Lands Day (NPLD) with fee-free entry into the monument. This year, NPLD will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 24. National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually and the purpose for the fee-free day is to show the public that national parks are public lands and are there for everyone to enjoy. Also, in recognition of this day, the monument’s Western National Parks and Monuments bookstore will be giving a 15 percent discount on all books, games, music, and everything else in the bookstore.

Brooke denies fraud charges

Water company insists state corporation commission dismiss ‘absurd’ claims

Claims that Brooke Utilities inflated water hauling charges this summer in Mesa del Caballo are “absurd allegations” lodged with the corporation commission by a customer “with a long history of irrational and libelous complaints,” according to a response from the company filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). Stephen Gehring, a local store owner, claimed in his complaint that the company charged the 400 homeowners in the unincorporated subdivision more than twice as much as it should have to cover the extra costs of buying water from Payson and hauling it to the community in water trucks.

Forest Service inaction may have doomed solar project

Payson struggles to save schedule for $65 million solar generating plant to preserve federal incentives

Thunderheads of bureaucracy and delay have cast a dark shadow across Payson’s once-bright prospects for building a solar and geothermal power plant that would not only provide power for a proposed college campus, but put a roof on the Payson Event Center. The original $65 million plan relied on lucrative federal incentives to lure enough investment money to generate 7.5 megawatts of power from linked solar and geothermal facilities, including an array of solar cells on a long-sought after roof over the rodeo grounds.

School budget brightens as enrollment drop slows

District loses only 50 students as revenues rise

Payson schools this semester have so far seen an enrollment decline only half as sharp as in the past two years, according to preliminary figures reported at a recent board meeting. Enrollment in the 2,500-student district this fall dropped by about 50 students — a decrease of less than 2 percent. By contrast, last year the decline topped 5 percent — which cost the district nearly $600,000 in state funding and contributed to painful budget cuts.

Gila County wants lobbyists to protect it from the state

Gila County’s pleas for protection against state raids on its budgets will dominate the agenda when Gila County supervisors attend the County Supervisors Association Summit Oct. 3-5. “Twenty-five percent of what our property taxpayers pay is transferred to the state,” said John Nelson, deputy county manager. That includes local payments to the state for the highway patrol, mental hospital treatment for criminal defendants and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which provides medical care for 30 percent of the county’s population. Only Graham County pays a higher share of its budget for AHCCCS than Gila County.

Community Almanac

The September mixer for the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Payson Care Center. Admission is $3 members, $5 community. The “Hula your feet off” theme of the mixer is backed up by music by DJ Craig, Hawaiian-style “Poo-Poos” (light finger food), Piña Coladas (virgin), various health tests and great door prizes.

Republican Party has lost touch with We the People

We the people, for the people, and by the people, this is the reason government will never be a business.

Humane Society crushing the little volunteers

I’m just one of the insignificant supporters of our Humane Society animals. My efforts won’t be needed now I guess.

Making changes for the future of American education

Arizona’s children and teachers are now back to school. The current federal plan for education, known as No Child Left Behind, is broken. It is past time to replace this system with one that works for communities, educators, parents, and children. During my time in Congress, I have successfully fought for meaningful education reform. I successfully had the House pass my charter school amendment to the Department of Interior appropriations bill and removed the ban on new charter schools on Indian Reservations.

People make the Rim Country the best place to live

Want to know why we love this town? Some will figure it’s the perfect climate, the elk calls in the fall, the light glinting off the East Verde River, the monsoon thunderheads towering over the Rim. Well. That’s part of it. But if you really want to know why this is the best place in the world to live — go back and take a look at last Friday’s paper and the story about an almost tragic house fire.

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Friendship yields inspiration for local artists

A unique friendship fostered in the last year has led two Payson women down the rabbit hole of their imaginations. In the recesses and folds, they each found a colorful world they thought had long ago dried up. Each encouraged the other’s ‘weirdness’ and what emerged were dreamlike landscapes, papier-mâché sculptures and vibrant watercolor scenes dealing with issues such as cancer, eating disorders, icons, body issues and cultural taboos. “Short Stories and Visions,” a bright, bold exhibition at Bill’s Custom Frames and Gallery, 910 S. Hohokam Drive, Suite 105 in Tempe, opens Saturday, Sept. 24. and runs through Oct. 22.

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Students learn history of Payson out of the classroom

Britney Curtis simply could not believe that Payson pioneers Henry and Sarah Haught and their five children lived in the single tiny cabin. The cabin now sits on the banks of the lake at Green Valley Park between the Zane Grey Cabin and the Rim Country Museum. “So, is that what it actually looked like?” asked Curtis. Docent Peter Bernard chuckled at the astonishment in her voice.

Middle school holds book fair Sept. 26

Rim Country Middle School will host a Scholastic Book Fair Sept. 26 to Sept. 30, to help raise funds for books at the school library. The book fair will be held in the school library and will be open each day from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Senior Circle hosts picnic in the park

Speaker to discuss Medicare Sept. 28

Senior Circle members will be hosting a picnic in the park from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 21. The event will be at Rumsey Park Ramada 5.

Remember when ...

Dearie, do you remember when ... • A family had one telephone per household rather than one for each family member • Pizza and zucchini were unknown edibles • Television — what’s that? Turn on the radio, it’s time for “Fibber McGee and Molly” • Pets ate leftovers, not fancy canned or packaged food, and no one thought of brushing their teeth • Text was what you studied for an exam • We read road maps and actually got where we wanted to go instead of having a disembodied voice telling us “turn left at the next intersection” • Twitter was what birds did • Women wore house dresses and aprons • We put galoshes over our shoes in wet or snowy weather

SV still negotiating to buy water company

After a lengthy closed-door discussion, the Star Valley Town Council Sept. 13 instructed town officials to continue negotiations for the Payson Water Company in Star Valley. Town Manager/Attorney Tim Grier has been in negotiations with water company owner Robert Hardcastle for the sale of the system that currently delivers water to some 300 customers. While only a small percentage of the town receives water from Brooke Utilities, the sale of the system would give Star Valley water rights and make it a “purveyor,” a title it needs to go after a share of Blue Ridge pipeline water.

Validation through accreditation

This summer, Payson Education Center (PEC) earned accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCACASI). Prior to receiving accreditation, students graduating from PEC could not transfer credits to college. “It means something to (the PEC students) that their diploma ... is not dismissed by other schools,” said Peggy Miles, principal of PEC.

No banner shows by state’s football teams

The weekend wasn’t a banner one, heck not even a decent one, for our state’s collegiate and professional teams. In fact, it was a shut out — 0-4. In Tucson, the Arizona Wildcats absorbed a 37-10 pounding from the Andrew Luck-led Stanford Cardinal and in Champaign, Ill., the Arizona State Sun Devils fell 17-14 to the Fighting Illini. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, a team that starts ex-PHS standout Matt Wilson at offensive tackle, dropped a heartbreaking 31-29 decision to Portland State.

Purtee heats up fishing front

Rim Country fishing guru Tracy Purtee is adding to his impressive list of angling credentials. He has long served as director of both the spring and fall benefit trout tournaments at Willow Springs Lake. This year he will also serve as director for Best Bet hosted tournaments, which draw amateur anglers to the aluminum boat frays. He has also been asked to serve as director of the Western Outdoor News (WON) Arizona Region Tournament. In addition to serving as tournament director, Purtee hosts the popular Let’s Talk Fishin’ radio show on 98.5 each Friday at 3 p.m. and at 9 a.m. Saturdays.

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Vandals fall as Horns turn to the air

Showing a spark that might have been missing early in the season, the Payson Longhorns evened their 2011 record to 2-2 by romping over the hapless Miami Vandals, 48-11. In the clash, which was played Sept. 16 in Longhorn Stadium, Payson jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on tailback Aaron Barnes’ 75-yard sweep of the right side and on an option play from quarterback Gunner Goodman to Kyle Racke.

Clubs and Organizations

The featured speaker and demonstrator for the Sept. 20 Payson Art League monthly meeting is Pat Stacy. Stacy will be presenting “Tips & Tricks in Acrylic” and sharing many interesting procedures gleaned from experimentation and workshops she has been able to attend. The PAL meets at Rim Country Health & Retirement Community, 807 W. Longhorn, Payson. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. there is a Show and Share of members’ artwork and social reception with light refreshments; the presentation is at 7 p.m. after a short business meeting.

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Lady Horns battle state’s best at Four Corners meet

The stars that shined the brightest at the Four Corners Invitational cross country meet in Flagstaff were super runners Rolonda Jumbo of Chinle and Flagstaff’s Tatianna Gillick. The speedy pair finished one-two respectively and were the only runners in the 149-runner field to break the coveted 19-minute barrier. Jumbo, one of the finest long distance runners in Arizona and for that matter, the country, was timed in 18:02 and Gillick was clocked in 18:11.

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Poker ride earns thousands

While touring the high country woods north of Pine and Strawberry atop an ATV or side-by-side is sheer enjoyment, the Justice McNeeley Foundation’s annual poker ride, held Sept. 17, means much more to children in need. The profits from the ride benefit the foundation, which uses the funds to help pay medical expenses of children whose families can’t afford the care. Just recently the foundation donated more than $3,600 to purchase a trainer to help a disabled boy learn to walk; $5,500 to pay a surgery bill; $5,400 for dental braces; $2,400 to pay a child’s doctor bill; and more than $2,400 for specialized hearing aids.

Friday, September 16

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Neighbors save couple from fire

Elderly couple saved from early morning fire

A garage engulfed in flames early Sunday morning prompted neighbors and firefighters to jump to action. What they did surprised even them, with one woman ripping open a locked door and a firefighter battling through a broken ankle. At about 12:20 a.m., Andi Shirley was just about to fall asleep when she heard a blood-curdling cry from her niece Suanne Clyne. Clyne, 26, was working in the kitchen when she saw a blaze outside a neighbor’s home three doors down.

Blue Ridge study clears key hurdle

Forest Service relents and concludes pipeline won’t harm endangered species

After a nearly one-year delay, the Tonto National Forest abruptly cleared a vexing logjam this week by forwarding to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an environmental assessment of Payson’s $34-million Blue Ridge pipeline project. The assessment had been stalled by a series of questions raised by Tonto National Forest biologists about the possible impact on endangered species.

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Wellness day helps students overcome troubles

“Rub your ear lobes,” said Tina Terry from the front of the classroom. “Now slap your left knee, now the other.” Terry threw her cheetah-clad legs up one at a time, demonstrating brain gym exercises at Payson High School’s Student Wellness Conference Tuesday. “This may look silly, but it delivers serious results,” she said, flailing her arms in alternating circles.

Breakthrough: Forest Service moves on sale

The Forest Service will hold an open house on Sept. 24 to get public input on its plans to sell Payson 300 acres for a college campus — a breakthrough town officials said may make it possible to build the first phase of the college in the original, preferred site. Payson Mayor Kenny Evans credited Payson Ranger District Head Ranger Angie Elam for almost cutting through thickets of red tape that had threatened to stall the sale of the parcel for another year or more.

Special event was a nice surprise

It seems that habit and routine pretty much rule our day to day lives. Wouldn’t you agree? Routine seems to bring order to our lives and helps us get through the day. But as nice as routine is, it’s always a pleasant surprise when we’re bumped off of that routine by something really special. Last week, we had one of those special moments come our way. We had the opportunity to DJ for what turned out to be a very special event — Chrissy Wiley’s birthday party. Almost all of the guests were very special people — adults who had finished school through special education classes and who had also participated in the Special Olympics program.

Joint Commission recognizes Payson Regional Medical Center

The Joint Commission recently named Payson Regional Medical Center (PRMC) one of the nation’s top performers on key quality measures.

Rope course is dangerous eyesore

I would like to mention two concerns regarding the recently constructed rope course on high school property off of South McLane Road.

The joy of little children

While we were remembering 9/11 last week, I was also thinking about the shrinking membership of the Methodist Church where I have recently been attending.

For the rich, by the rich ...

It looks like the “Roaring Twenties” all over again. According to The Atlantic magazine, two-thirds of all new income in America between 2002 and 2007 went to just the top 1 percent of Americans.

Disappointed with Humane Society

I know Penny as a young woman who worked hard, and greeted every one with a smile, and lovely demeanor.

No more obstructionists needed

We do not need another obstructionist in the Forest Service to screw everything up. We already have 435 of the same in Congress.

Steps should be taken to end culture of ‘too big to fail’

This month marks the third anniversary of the federal seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the “too big to fail” government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that did so much to cause the 2008 financial crisis. Fannie and Freddie epitomize the danger of what former American Enterprise Institute president Christopher DeMuth has described as “fusion enterprise,” or “the intermingling of politics and power with finance and commerce.” This perverse business model allows companies to reap enormous private profits while enjoying either implicit or explicit public backing for losses.

Payson ranger rides to the town’s rescue

We might have to launch a “Citizen of the Year” award just to give a prize to Payson Ranger District boss Angie Elam. We suspect Elam must have been feeling like a smoke jumper ever since she landed in Payson several weeks ago, transferred up from the Coronado National Forest near Tucson. She took over just as all the Payson Ranger District’s long-simmering pots boiled over at once. But this week she preformed heroic service, not only for the Forest Service, but for this community.

Would you like to live on an island? Part II

In case you missed it last week, my answer to the question in the title of this column is, “Depends on which island.” I have spent about one-quarter of my life on one island or another, a total of 20 years on Staten Island, Iceland, Japan, Okinawa, and England, though I don’t really count Japan and England as islands. They were so big they lost the island “feel.”

High school gym roof repair plans approved

Payson schools land $733,000 in state funding, but hope for a steeper roof, rain gutters

You won’t have to worry about the high school gym roof collapsing once the Payson Unified School District finishes a $733,000 state-approved reroofing project — but you’d best watch out for the icicles. The Payson school board approved a plan to shore up the aging gym’s roof, which has already won the state school facilities board approval. In fact, the school facilities board approved only $2 million worth of school improvement projects statewide this year.

Crane fire might be work of arsonist

Officials believe a fire at Parker Excavating Saturday night could be the work of an arsonist. Just after 11 p.m., Payson police received a call that the cab of a yellow crane rig was on fire in the parking lot of the business at 1400 N. Beeline Hwy., said Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi.

SV council refines previous motion to ease communication

The Star Valley council Tuesday night fine-tuned a previous motion that could be misconstrued to give its town attorney/manager unintended power. At an Aug. 16 meeting, the council approved a motion that any town councilor or commission member get approval from manager Tim Grier before contacting or meeting with an outside agency to discuss town issues. The idea being to monitor who meets with an agency and when, to avoid confusion among councilors. For example, two people may schedule a meeting with the Forest Service unbeknownst to each other. This confuses the Forest Service and possibly jeopardizes a pending agreement.

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School play tackles impact of drug use

The Payson High School drama department will explore the consequences of dangerous drug use this week with “Addict,” the first play of the year. The play will offer a series of small stories dealing with drug use — and the persistent denial that makes it possible. The first performance is Thursday, Sept. 22 with additional shows through Saturday, Sept 24. at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Fridays show is at 4 p.m.

Ranger district to starting thinning project 

Payson Ranger District fire specialists begin two hazardous fuels thinning projects which will be taking place over the next six months.

Supervisors revisiting employee handbook

Discussing policies from dress code to drug testing, raises and vacation time, the Gila County Board of Supervisors examined proposed revisions made to the county’s employee rules and policies handbook at a work session on Sept. 13. Human Resources Director Berthan DeNero presented extensive revisions to the policy book, including an extended list of employees subject to testing for controlled substances and random testing for employees driving county vehicles

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Trying to outsmart a wild trout gets the adrenaline pumping

Having hiked and fished just about every stream under the Rim that had any chance of holding a trout has been an adventure over the last 50 years.  It still gets the adrenaline pumping in this aging outdoorsman — trying to outsmart a wild trout and succeeding in catching one of those brightly colored game fish on ultralight gear.  When I find a secluded stretch of water that has a rainbow, brookie, or brown trout, I often wonder how that fish took up residence in a creek that is very much off the beaten path.

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State parks seek contractor for Tonto Natural Bridge

State hopes to find someone who can return historic lodge to its former glory

Anyone interested in running a historic, nine-room hotel — and maybe a restaurant — sitting on top of one of North America’s natural wonders? If so, give Arizona State Parks a call, since they’re looking for someone to reopen the Tonto Natural Bridge Lodge, once one of the hot tickets in Rim Country.

3-D family archery shoot is Sept. 24

Participants of all ages can compete in a 28-target, 3-D archery tournament hosted by the Tonto Rim Sports Club in partnership with the Payson Parks and Recreation Department. Registration forms are available online at www.paysonrimcountry.com 

Longhorns seek revival in matchup

Payson favored despite Miami’s much better record on offense

The Payson Longhorns on Friday host Miami, hoping to build on last week’s improvement in a losing cause. Miami and Payson have identical records, but Miami has managed to accumulate twice as many points in the game. Despite that lopsided average point score, the Web site Maxpreps ranks the Vandals 152nd in the state and Payson 83rd. Payson struggled with penalties, turnovers, blunders and stalled scoring drives in the first two games of the season — winning one and losing one. The team straightened out last week in its heartbreak, last-minute loss to Fountain Hills — when the Longhorns had only one penalty.

It is going be a doggie good time at the park

Four-legged and furry canine residents of the Rim Country are invited to bring their people to Rumsey Park for a fun-filled day Sept. 17. Dog Day in the Park is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Payson Off-Leash Dog Park. Sponsored by PAWS (Payson Area Woofers Society), the group that built the dog park, the day will include games, contests, mini-seminars and more, such as a raffle of a basket, which will include a $250 gift certificate from Star Valley Veterinary Clinic.

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Climbing the Tetons

Climbing with fear-based confidence

Gripping the knife-like edge tightly some 13,000 feet above the valley of Jackson Hole, Morris Brown was in a predicament he had promised himself 15 years earlier he would never be in again. His slick shoes scraping at the sheer face, Morris knew any misstep would likely cause him to plummet to his death. The words “a moderate, enjoyable climb on largely excellent rock” from a Grand Teton guidebook he had picked up sometime earlier rang through his mind — what did they know?

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Rim Country youth football under way with 100 participants

The Rim Country boasts 75 players and 25 cheerleaders in its 2011 Northeastern Arizona Youth Football program. “We’re doing great” said Pam Way, wife of the league president, Daniel Way. Games were held in Payson with Blue Ridge Sept. 10. The teams have two wins, a tie and a loss from the contests. The Mitey Mites, which includes players in the first and second grades, had a win, as did the Juniors, which has players from the third and fourth grades. Payson had so many youngsters come out for the Minors, which is for fifth- and sixth-grade students, it fielded two teams: the Black Longhorns and the Purple Longhorns.

Thanks to the Payson Forest Service Ranger district

Over the years the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee and Gary Roberts of our Payson Forest Ranger station have enjoyed a great relationship.

Community Almanac

The members of the Payson F.A.N. Club are inviting all area veterans to be their guests and enjoy watching the Payson Longhorns take on the Miami Vandals. Arrive for pregame events at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, with kickoff at 7 p.m.

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Living a quality life combats depression, says speaker

Tuesday’s Health and Wellness Fair at the Payson High School offered students a chance to attend sessions on suicide awareness, eating disorders, meditation and depression. The event was started three years ago by high school art teacher George Conley. In college, he had worked with mentally ill patients and so recognized when kids came to his class showing signs of depression, he said. Conley approached Superintendent Casey O’Brien with an idea for teaching kids that mental health disorders weren’t strange and they can get help.

Grand Canyon has free entry on public lands day

Grand Canyon National Park will be joining national park units across the country in celebrating National Public Lands Day (NPLD) with fee-free entry into the park. National Public Lands Day began in 1994 and is intended to encourage shared stewardship of our nation’s public lands. Today, NPLD is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance federal, state and local public lands.

Who knew we were so lucky? Part One

It truly brightens the room when a child comes into the shelter with donations which he raised at his birthday party, or when a person brings in blankets to warm the shelter’s animals at night. HSCAZ is lucky to have such a compassionate community which supports its work and ideas. It’s the everyday contributions from the people that clip coupons for pet food or sew blankets for the shelters animals that make HSCAZ a great facility. The Payson and surrounding communities have truly shown to be remarkable people and this is something that we need to share with the rest of the world.

Third Annual Fall Fling at Wheelers RV Park is Sunday

The Third Annual Fall Fling is just around the corner. Sept. 18, at Wheelers RV Park on the loop. BYOB and a dish to share. Music will be by Lynda St. John. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a $ 5 donation for entertainment. Hope to see everyone there!

Clubs and Organizations

Celebrate Unity of Payson, which is now an official church affiliated with Unity Worldwide Ministries. Services are planned to start this fall. In the meantime, the public is invited to attend these continuing events: • Unity Book Study Group, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays; for location information, call (928) 478-6906 (no meeting the first Friday of the month).

Full house for Domino Divas competition

The annual competition of the Domino Divas and the Christopher Creek domino players was held on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at the Hellsgate Fire Station in Tonto Village. What a great turnout it turned out to be, with 21 ladies ready to play and compete. Not only was there a full house, there was also a table filled with a fantastic variety of food from different appetizers to wonderful desserts. Some of the food will appear in the cookbook that is being put together by the Hellsgate Fireflies. Everyone had a grand time chatting with each other and playing either ‘Mexican Train’ or ‘Chickenfoot.’ As far as what team was the winner? Everyone.

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Shedding sunlight on your dirt

Business profile: Sunshine Cleaning Systems LLC

How did the business start? Sunny Clark started Sunshine Cleaning Systems in 1987. The business initially only did window cleaning, but has since expanded to carpet cleaning and water damage restoration. Sunny got me, her son, involved in the business at 11 years old. I took over the business in 2001 long before the film Sunshine Cleaning was released.

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Summer winding down, but still plenty to do

Labor Day is behind us and the summer season is winding down. It’s a cycle that repeats itself here as people come to experience a small slice of what America used to be nestled in the mountains. Here, people are willing to work to keep it that way and kind enough to share it with those who take over the summer weekends. Still, there is plenty to do in Strawberry and Pine.

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Chamber holds Oktoberfest this weekend

The rainy weather we received this week will give way to partly cloudy skies this weekend. Precipitation amounts totaled from 1/4 inch to 1 inch over the last week. These amounts vary depending on what area of Heber Overgaard. The temperature forecast is for highs during the day to reach the mid-70s and lows in the upper-40s through this weekend.

Be aware of key life insurance benefits

You may be unaware of it, but September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. And while a whole month may seem like a long time to focus on life insurance, it’s actually a good opportunity to realize the important role that life insurance plays. Unfortunately, many people don’t have sufficient insurance.

Wednesday, September 14

Dog Day in the Park this Saturday

Dog Day in the Park is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Payson Off Leash Dog Park in Rumsey Park, across from the Payson Public Library. Sponsored by PAWS (Payson Area Woofers Society), the group that built the dog park, the day will include games, contests, mini-seminars and more, such as a raffle of a basket, which will include a $250 gift certificate from Star Valley Veterinary Clinic.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 3: The Skull

The skull of an Apache decorated the Schenectady, N.Y. mantle of retired Army surgeon James Reagles. He had carried it with him as a souvenir when he left Camp Verde in 1878. It had been the topic of conversation for many years as the Reagles family told tales the man whose skull it was, Tonto chief Delshay.[1] The physician had treated Delshay for malaria while stationed at the Rio Verde Reservation, and he was convinced this was the chief’s skull.

All the world lies hidden in the murmur the river

A flood of woe delivers writer to the unexpected solace of a river bank

I fell in love with her at first sight on that very first day. It was just past a bleak Christmas on my first day on a new job in Payson, after what felt like the collapse of my life. I had no sooner settled into my office, then the snow started drifting down onto the parking lot — big, lazy flakes with all the time in the world. So I grabbed a camera and headed out of the town to which I was a stranger, hoping to find an overlook from which to shoot a snowscape. Veering onto Flowing Springs Road, I parked and tromped through the gathering snow to an overlook. Below, the East Verde River wandered past the ridge, slipped under the highway bridge and eased on down through a subdivision. She took my breath away in that first, heart-stopping moment.

Five breakfasts in 5 minutes

“No time” is no longer an excuse for skipping breakfast. Not with this repertoire of easy ideas from Special Fork (www.specialfork.com), a free mobile recipe cookbook where recipes are geared to people with more taste than time. All workweek long, Special Fork bloggers address the cooking needs of busy home cooks.

Know the signs of heart valve trouble

I have had three attacks of gallbladder pain due to gallstones. Can’t these stones be treated in some other way? How does my body function without a gallbladder?

A West Coast swing and the High Sierras

I have traveled to 128 countries and all 50 states, but had never visited the High Sierras in California. I have probably flown over Lake Tahoe more than 100 times, but had never visited there. Now that I am no longer hosting a daily weekday talk show on KMOG, I am free to travel as I have wanted. Norma and I talked about where to travel here in the U.S. by automobile. The West Coast is always desirable and not that far away. Recently we packed our suitcases and began our car trip to California and Santa Barbara. We are both from that state and have relatives and friends all over the territory.

Getaway around Rim Country

The Vertielee Floyd Memorial 41st Annual Old Time Fiddlers Contest will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 through Sept. 25 at the Payson Event Center. The Payson Old Time Opry is the feature Friday, Sept. 23 at the Payson High School Auditorium. Performing will be The HillBenders; Desert Sons; and Run Boy Run, with a special appearance by State Champion Fiddler Michael Rolland. Admission is $5 per person.

Good 2 Go

Walk for the poor Saturday, Sept. 24 Payson’s St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Friends of the Poor Walk is this month. Payson’s St. Vincent de Paul Society offers person-to-person support and provides food through the local food banks, financial assistance for medical, dental, rent, utilities, emergency shelter, and transportation costs. In 2010, food boxes were provided to 7,423 families, feeding over 23,000 people in the community. An additional 4,388 people with rent, utilities, medical and dental care and transportation aid were also assisted.  

Tuesday, September 13

Forest Service red tape may snarl campus, pipeline plans

Hundreds of small questions raised by biologist threatens to unhinge timetable

Hundreds of desperately needed jobs and the timeline for both Blue Ridge pipeline and a proposed 6,000-student college campus in Payson all now hinge on a seemingly unending flurry of questions raised by a Forest Service biologist about the environmental assessment of the $34 million pipeline. The Forest Service had agreed by contract to approve the environmental assessment by last October, in return for a $169,000 payment by Payson to allow the Tonto National Forest to hire anyone it needed to quickly review the $500,000 study finished a year ago by a consulting firm hired by Payson.

Local Humane Society starts work on shelter

Controversy about fund-raising, thrift shop mar triumphant start of key, long-delayed project

The Humane Society of Central Arizona has finally broken ground on its new animal shelter and announced strong gains in donations, but has also spurred a hailstorm of criticism as it shifts fund-raising gears. A flurry of last-minute changes to mollify the concerns of neighbors prompted a three-month delay in construction of the new $800,000 shelter just off Main Street. Back in May, backers said they hoped to start construction on the 7,000-square-foot shelter in June.

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Gila fair provides life lesson on the hoof for 4-H members

Chris Smith stands in the back of the 4-H arena at the Northern Gila County Fair Friday while the hogs circle around the show pen, rooting in the wood shavings. The huge animals throw dust in the air with their snouts and squeal at each other before starting fights. Handlers pull them apart by tugging at their halters. Smith, a man with lively brown eyes and a slight drawl, doesn’t look like a rancher.

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From grief comes ability to help others

A day after her only daughter shot herself, Elizabeth “Bits” Siller was reeling. Just two weeks earlier, Siller and Kim Marie “Kimberly” Siller Bailey had visited the Grand Canyon and celebrated Siller’s 61st birthday. Kimberly told her mother things she had never said before and the two had reconnected — giving Siller confidence her daughter’s suicide attempt seven months earlier was the last and that maybe, just maybe, the gaping hole in her daughter’s heart was finally healing.

Community Almanac

Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens announces scholarship funds are available to grandparent(s) or older individuals, 55 years of age or older, who are responsible for raising a relative child or children in their home. These scholarships will be granted for tuition to after-school programs, weekend programs, sports programs, educational programs and can include funds for materials and supplies for participation including travel and other expenses.

Burning the candle at both ends

It appears that our fearless leader is trying to pull the wool over both parties.

Dysfunctional? Really?

In a recent article in the Roundup, Ann Kirkpatrick stated that the 87 freshmen congressmen elected in 2010 were the cause of a “dysfunctional Congress.” Really?

When will it end?

Over the past two weeks, the Roundup has reported on two whopping increases leveled against the taxpayer/customer in our community.

Important story

Teresa McQuerrey’s excellent article “Unholy Trinity” Sept. 6 is probably the most important piece you’ve run all year. I hope she gets a ton of awards.

Common-sense solutions that will stimulate the economy

Americans can all agree — the purpose of government is to secure the blessings of liberty and allow the people to prosper. One way to do that is to create a system that encourages everyone to reach their educational and employment potentials. These are bipartisan goals. No one party has a monopoly on these aspirations.

Let us all hope for a Forest Service change of heart

The closer we look — the worse it gets. Don’t take our word for it: Read today’s front-page story about the sometimes inane and meandering questions that could force a long delay in not only the $34 million Blue Ridge pipeline, but Payson’s $500 million college campus as well.

Redistricting maps draw variety of comments

About 30 people debated how to respond to Gila County’s population shift to the north dominated the conversation at the second of six public meetings on redistricting last Thursday, Sept. 8, in Payson. Much of the debate last week centered on the Tonto Apache map, now labeled as Draft Plan D. That map would move the Tonto Apache Tribe from District 2 to District 3, increasing Native American clout in that district. However, the map would also move a block of south county Hispanic voters from District 3 to District 2, increasing the Hispanic block in District 2 — but decreasing the total minority population in District 3. “The whole intent of the tribe is to make District 3 a swing vote, District 2 a Democratic vote and District 1 a Republican vote,” Shirley Dye said.

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Homework becomes schoolwork – and a chance to succeed

U-turn program follows model that has boosted student performance significantly nationwide

Will Dunman, principal of Rim Country Middle School, waits at the front of the classroom, organized piles of schoolwork are on the desk in front of him. The bell rings. Out in the hall, most students grab lunch bags and rush to the cafeteria. But in room B-18, the students for whom Dunman waits file into the classroom to take a seat. No lunch for them until they finish class work they missed. Dunman, a bespectacled, kind-eyed, compact man with a very short haircut, (he says the barber got a little too enthusiastic with the clippers), administers the U-turn program every day at lunch. Originally supported by the GEAR Up (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate) federal program, U-turn teaches children responsibility for their homework while making sure they grasp the curriculum taught.

Sweet taste of homemade preserves

My grandma made the best preserves I’ve ever tasted — maybe because she made them from the chokecherry, a bitter berry found only in the most northern parts of the U.S. Grandma lived in Minnesota and I haven’t found that berry anywhere else. Just like Grandma’s, the perfect preserve combines taste and texture. Mitzi Paul, from Pine, has judged the canned food entered into the Northern Gila County Fair for years. “I’ve judged the fair since it was in Pine,” said Paul.

Photographic talent showcased at fair

A boy with haunting eyes, a Russian girl spinning yarn in slanted light, vivid sunsets, moody sunrises, a flower petal zoomed in on to create a landscape of veins and droplets — languid dreams and visual punch lines covered eight vibrant walls in the exhibition tent at the 2011 Northern Gila County Fair. Judging the photographs, Payson Roundup editor Tom Brossart gave each photo his undivided attention. Brossart has taken photos professionally for more than 30 years.

Cities support Payson resolution on forest thinning

Mayor Evans elected to executive committee of influential League of Cities

Payson demonstrated its statewide clout with the election of Mayor Kenny Evans to the Arizona League of Cities and Towns executive board and the unanimous adoption of two resolutions the town sponsored. Evans was elected to a second, two-year term on the 25-member executive committee of the organization that represents 75 of the state’s 90 cities.

Get ‘Extra Help’ to pay for prescriptions

The Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, Benefits, Entitlements and Advocacy Department would like to get the word out about a program to help with prescription costs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that more than 2 million people with Medicare may be eligible for “Extra Help,” but are not currently enrolled in the program to take advantages of these savings.

Senior fitness screenings offered

Payson Care Center will be offering free senior fitness screenings with physical therapist Mike Crossman at 11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 19. The screenings will be held at Mountain Bible Church, 302 E. Rancho Road.

If it’s not .gov – it’s not the real Social Security

When you go on a road trip, you need to follow the signs to arrive at the right place. Going online can be very much the same. Look for the “.gov” at the end of the Web address — if it isn’t .gov, it isn’t the real Social Security Web site — www.socialsecurity.gov.

Time for an evening under the Rim and vintage baseball

Friends, fans and supporters of the Rim Country Museum will have a chance to “put their money where their mouth is” this weekend and attend a pig roast dinner and visit the original site of the Zane Grey Cabin. An Evening Under the Tonto Rim is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 and costs just $35 per person, which includes transportation, dinner, entertainment and more.  Owners of the cabin site and benefactors of the Rim Country Museum, Dave and Judee Morrison, are opening their home for the event for the second time.

Payson to spend $19,000 for 100 hours of TV promotion

Payson will buy $19,000 worth of television ads and in return get 100 hours of programming extolling the virtues of a recreation-friendly small town, Tourism Director Cameron Davis told the council on Thursday. A series of documentary stories about Rim Country will air on 19 different channels, including CNN, the Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel, with a guarantee the program will air in the top 15 markets of Payson’s choice. “We could never buy that much time otherwise,” said Davis, who said that former football star and commentator Terry Bradshaw will provide the color commentary.

Martin now chair of supervisors

Supervisor Tommie Martin will sit as the new chair of the Gila County Board of Supervisors during the Tuesday, Sept. 13 meeting. “Not that I haven’t enjoyed the last 16 months, but I’m ready to pass on the torch,” said Supervisor Michael Pastor. While Pastor served as chair the last year and a half, Martin sat as vice-chair, a position she has held since 2005. When the current slate of supervisors took office, they agreed to shift chair responsibilities every 16 months. Supervisor Shirley Dawson served the first term, then Pastor and now it is Martin’s turn.

Star Valley council to look at water issues Tuesday night

Most notable, Town Attorney/Manager Tim Grier will provide council with an update on negotiations for the purchase of the Payson Water Company in Star Valley. The town has been in talks with Brooke Utilities owner Robert Hardcastle for the system that currently serves roughly 300 customers.

Black calf is ‘the one that got away

Forget handcuffs and pepper spray, officers needed lassos and lessons in steer wrestling Friday to catch one wayward calf. The black calf, with a face sprinkled with white markings, out ran and out-maneuvered four officers. The young cow was first spotted drinking out of one of the smaller lakes at Green Valley Park in the morning hours. The curious site quickly attracted a crowd of walkers and nearby neighbors peering over their balconies. The calf sheepishly walked around the lake before making its way to a condominium’s parking lot. One onlooker tried to entice the calf with some grass, but the calf was less than interested, leaving the pile of ripped up grass to rot.

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Payson drivers add heart, soul to derby

With their legendary drive and trucks built for punishment, it’s no surprise the boys from Phoenix won first place for both the truck and car Demolition Derby on Sunday at the Payson Event Center. What did surprise and please the crowd was the commitment displayed by “Freaky Freddy” Collins. He’s a local who works part-time as a cook at Denny’s, sings Louis Armstrong during karaoke at the Buffalo Bar and drives in the truck derby every year. He’s got his heart in the fight. That heart won him the Best Local Driver trophy along with prize money for coming in second place and winning the Most Aggressive Driver prize in the truck derby. A fact: Payson is the first town to hold a truck derby. Now, it’s a beloved locals event.

Walk slated to help food bank feed the hungry

With hunger and poverty still on the rise in Payson, food banks hope to raise money and awareness through Saturday’s “Friends of the Poor Walk.” The St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank in Payson gives out 750 food baskets to help nearly 2,000 local residents every month, with the need still increasing nearly three years after the start of the economic downturn. The group also visits the homes of 36 families in need every month, and last month used $10,000 in donations to help people facing the threat of homelessness pay their rent and utility bills — or sometimes fill up their gas tanks so they could continue the desperate search for work with unemployment remaining stubbornly stuck at 9 percent locally. “The demand just keeps rising, with so many people displaced and laid off,” said James Bridges, co-president of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

Lady Horns volleyball squad pulls off third-place finish

The Lady Longhorn volleyball team outdid even their coach’s expectations this past weekend when it finished third in the Coconino Invitational in Flagstaff. The team made its best showing at the tournament, taking third out of a dozen teams. The performance comes on the heels of the team placing fourth at the Payson Invitational Tournament in early September, despite losing several players to injuries in the interim. “I was extremely proud of them because we were really threadbare,” said coach Arnold Stonebrink. “We still have girls out with injuries, plus we had one backup front row player who never even showed up.”

Fourth-place finish doesn’t mar fun of tournament

The Payson Longhorn girls varsity soccer team finished in fourth place in Show Low this weekend. The Lady Longhorns won a shoot-out over Blue Ridge during the open game. “The field was very wet and there was rain almost the entire game. This made it very difficult for the goalies. Their gloves were very slick and the ball would skid on the ground,” said coach Amy Wilcox. She said Blue Ridge has always been a powerful team and came out strong and scored two goals within the first 10 minutes.

Clubs and Organizations

Payson Masonic Lodge #70 F&AM meets every second Tuesday of the month. Dinner for members, their families and guests is at 5:30 p.m. with the meeting at 7 p.m. All members of the fraternity are invited to attend the meetings. Information about the lodge schedule and Masonry in general can be obtained from lodge secretary Richard Skoglund at (928) 970-1169 or on the Web at www.paysonmason.org

Storm-tossed Longhorns suffer shocking setbacks

Football team makes a comeback, masters the fundamentals until they go cold during a two-hour game delay caused by lightning strikes

Lightning struck. The offense didn’t. And the defense got shocked. All of which added up to a literally, last-minute loss to Fountain Hills for the Payson Longhorns Friday, after a two-hour delay by the threat of lightning strikes caused the team to lose its grip on a game it had dominated. After leading the whole game, the Longhorns ground to a halt on a crucial drive, turned the ball over on Fountain Hills’ 7-yard line, then for the first time all night failed to contain a sustained, desperation, Fountain Hills drive for a heartbreaking touchdown in the game’s final minute.

Friday, September 9

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Julia Randall teacher earns county honors

Wayne Gorry named Arizona Rural Schools Association Teacher of the Year for Gila County

Wayne Gorry believes his diverse background is what led him to be chosen as the Arizona Rural Schools Association Teacher of the Year from Gila County for 2011. Gorry hasn’t always been a teacher. He arrived in Payson in 1982 after growing up in the Phoenix area and studying to teach debate and speech to high school students. He first taught in Chandler, but that only lasted two years. Realizing he preferred smalltown life to city life, Gorry decided to quit his job in Chandler and take a bike tour for a few months to contemplate his next move. Payson came to mind.

SRP puts a price tag on its water

The hard costs of a secure, long-term water supply have started to emerge from a flurry of negotiations between the Salt River Project and half a dozen unincorporated communities for a share of water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir. Many residents of Mesa del Caballo recently were unsettled to discover that while Blue Ridge water would end water rationing and allow the full development of the subdivision — it could also boost the average monthly water bill by 130 percent. Other communities that take their water from the river and build their own, small filtration plants, on the other hand, could get water for about $1,400 per acre-foot annually.

Sexual violence mostly unreported

Sexual assault remains one of the most often unreported crimes of violence in Gila County, say police and prosecutors. While victims rarely report such attacks, when they are reported, these cases most often end in plea agreements or are all together thrown out, according to a Roundup investigation. Last year, the Gila County attorney’s office prosecuted 42 percent of the 24 sex-related crimes local police referred to the prosecutor’s office. Prosecutors dismissed the rest due to a lack of sufficient evidence, making sexual assaults one of the least prosecuted crimes.

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Fossil Creek rescue was painful experience

A slippery lip got the better of a college wrestler Sunday who fell from a Fossil Creek waterfall and broke his femur. The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student from Prescott was jumping into a pool from a lower waterfall with several other friends when he slipped and landed on a ledge instead of a deeper pool. The impact likely broke the man’s femur, said Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Commander Bill Pitterle. Being a busy holiday weekend and the remote, rocky location of the accident, it took rescuers some time to reach the man, and several more hours to carry him out.

Redistricting maps now up for public comment

The Gila County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to let the public, between now and Oct. 3, have a chance to comment on the redistricting map proposed by the Tonto Apache Tribe and others, despite the qualms of its own consultants. In a 2-1 vote, supervisors agreed to let the public comment on four proposed revisions of the boundaries of the three county districts, including both the original Tonto Apache map and a version of that map “tweaked” by its consultants, which they think will make it more attractive to the U.S. Justice Department. The Justice Department must review all changes to voting districts in Arizona due to past problems in complying with the with Voting Rights Act. The board also approved maps proposed by citizens K. Feezor and T. Moody.

Payson water bills found, delivered by post office

A batch of Payson water bills clogged up in the mail system has finally cleared. It seems 8,000 bills from the Payson Water Department went missing for several days, but finally showed up in customers’ mailboxes in time to avoid any late penalties. According to water department employees, on Aug. 31, they dropped off the usual monthly allotment of water bills at the Payson post office for delivery.

Trial for woman accused of taking elderly woman’s assets starts Oct. 19

The trial for a woman accused of capitalizing on a dying woman’s estate remains on schedule to start later next month. Heather Driscoll will face a jury starting Oct. 19 in Payson. Driscoll’s former husband, Michael Lowe, will stand trial starting Nov. 1 for his alleged larger role in taking over Alicia Christopherson’s estate. A grand jury indicted both more than a year ago — Driscoll on charges of theft from a vulnerable adult for an amount less than $25,000, and Lowe for Christopherson’s estate which was close to half a million.

Support for assault victim key to prosecution

While most victims of sexual assaults never come forward, those who do often face a long, difficult struggle to obtain justice. Often, they wait for years before they can even take the stand — and many more years to recover psychologically. “The trauma of reliving the criminal conduct through police interviews, trial preparation and then testimony at trial is a harsh reality for victims in the prosecution of sex offenses,” said Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores. “No prosecutor wants to put a victim of a sex crime through the trauma of reliving what happened before a jury of strangers and in the presence of the defendant. 

Community Almanac

he 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair will be held Sept. 9, 10 and 11 at the Payson Event Center. The fair opened to the public at 9 a.m. today, Friday, Sept. 9, and exhibits will close at 6 p.m. The exhibition tent is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 and from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11. See displays of FFA and 4H livestock projects, as well as livestock and small animals submitted for judging by area residents in the open divisions; agriculture, horticulture and floriculture entries; homemaking arts; domestic science projects; canning; hobbies and handicrafts; minerals and lapidary; fine arts; photography; and more.

Plenty of activities in Payson

Let’s see. It’s Friday, Sept. 2nd. I’ve just looked at the calendar on the back page of the Payson Roundup.

Never be the one at the end of the line

“School board frustrated by hike in property tax” ... and the article below that, “School board approves big jump in facility fees.”

New location to donate aluminum cans to the Humane Society

I wanted to let you know of a new Dalmatian (white trash container with black spots) can location! Waste Management on the corner of Chennault and Airport Road (up past the airport) has graciously consented to let the Humane Society use their recycling area as a can collection site.

Nothing to do in Payson

My name is Landen Adams, I live in Payson and go to Rim Country Middle School. After school I have nothing to do but play X-Box 360.

Thank you for the tribute to Blair River at football game

A wonderful tribute was paid to my son, Blair River, a former Payson High School football player, Friday, Sept. 2. I would like to thank Coach Quinlan, his staff, and his upstanding football team for taking the time to honor my son in this way.

Barbecue a huge success

I would like to say thank you to all of you who attended our barbecue fund-raiser Saturday, Sept. 3 in Tonto Village at station #22 for Hellsgate Fire Department.

Ten years later, the light still shines

On Sept. 12, 2001, hundreds of newspapers, many carrying haunting images of smoking towers, delivered devastating news to readers around the world. “U.S. ATTACKED” and “War on America” screamed the front pages of The New York Times and Britain’s The Daily Telegraph. The cover of The Washington Times read simply, “Infamy.” And they were right. Nearly a decade ago, our nation entered into a new war. The initial toll was terrible: almost 3,000 killed and thousands more injured. In an instant, the easy-going ’90s ended and, in their place, Americans from coast-to-coast came to understand the horror of terrorism spawned by radical political Islamists. It became our new reality. September 11 was, and remains, one of the most transformational events in modern American history. Yet, for all the pain and tragedy, its effect on our country was more than simply catastrophic; it also brought out remarkable compassion, resolve, and strength in each of us.

If you guys are serious about creating jobs ...

President Barack Obama last night issued a ringing call to unsnarl government red tape that prevents the creation of the jobs America so desperately needs. Glad to hear it. Certainly, even the most hard-core partisans on either side of the aisle can agree on that much. Well, we’ve got the perfect way to prove that it’s not just empty rhetoric. Eleven months ago, Payson finished a $500,000 environmental assessment of a 15-mile-long pipeline alongside Houston Mesa Road designed to deliver 3,500 acre-feet of Blue Ridge water annually.

Would you like to live on an island?

If anyone ever asks me if I would like to live on an island, I’ll have to answer a question with a question, “Which one?” “Why so cautious?” you might ask. Hey, I’ve lived on an island, so I can tell you there are islands and there are islands. All they have in common is ... water. To have an island you have to have water. But beyond that, Johnny, look out. The place could be paradise or purgatory.

Remembering 9-11 like it was yesterday

Payson man was part of incident command team called up to help New York City officials

Ten years after Sept. 11, 2001, Dan Eckstein can still remember the memorials — the sight of thousands of posters and notes with MISSING, COME HOME plastered all over New York City. Eckstein, of Payson, was on one of the only commercial flights the day after the attack, joining thousands of emergency personnel in the city. Eckstein recalls some of the more poignant moments he witnessed in the 34 days he spent just a few miles from Ground Zero helping others rebuild a country — from President George Bush’s pledge to rescuers that the U.S. would fight back against terrorism to the outpouring of support and supplies that flooded in overwhelming even the convention center. Like most people, Eckstein was getting ready for the start of a new day — watching the news on TV from home.

Poker run has lots of prizes to award ‘players’

The good news from Justice McNeeley Foundation member Katie Parks is the donations for the upcoming benefit quad and ATV poker run are rolling in at a record-setting pace. “We have some awesome donations this year for the live auction.  We have a pair of his and hers mountain bikes, a pool table with all the accessories, a grill, beer signs, jewelry, eyelash extensions, a two-night stay at Strawberry Hill Cabins, a casino stay, a plane ride and the list goes on,” says Parks, who is hoping for a good sized turnout for the run, which begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Rimside Grill just south of Pine on Beeline Highway. “With the economy the way it is, we are overwhelmed with applications for children needing medical support, we never want to be in the position to have to turn a child down because of funds,” Parks said.

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Lady Longhorns are Coconino bound

The Lady Longhorn volleyball team will try to turn in its second impressive tournament performance of the early season when it travels tomorrow, Sept. 10, to Flagstaff to compete in the Coconino Invitational. The players make the visit fresh off a fourth-place finish in probably what was the most competitive field to ever enter the Payson Invitational Tournament. The field was also the largest ever — up to 21 teams from previous limit of 18 schools. The invitational was played Sept. 2 and 3 in three school district gymnasiums. Following the invitational, coach Arnold Stonebrink lauded his players’ efforts saying the entire roster stepped up to play well during a marathon-like two days in which the team competed first in pool play, then in cross-pool action and finally in the championship bracket.

Shoot for the Rim returns to TRSC site

Retired law enforcement officer Les Conner moved from California to Payson years ago armed with a love for archery. He had taken up the sport in about 1997 and in Payson he missed the camaraderie and competition of a California archery club of which he once was a member. So, in the summer of 2008, he talked members of the Tonto Rim Sports Club into hosting a first-ever 3-D archery shoot with plans for it to become at least a twice-a-year event. The first shoot was a success attracting about 45 competitors from around Gila County. With the success, Conner opted to host a second shoot about four months later. It, however, was held in cold and windy conditions which meant only the hardiest of archers showed up to participate.

Lady Horns strong at Padre Invitational

The Lady Longhorn cross country team enjoyed a successful 2011 season debut finishing fifth in the Marcos de Niza Padre Invitational in which Payson was the only Division IV team and pitted against much larger Valley-area “big schools.” The Lady Horns six-person team combined for 128 points to edge Greenway, which had 130, for the fifth-place finish. With 54 points, Tempe High was first, edging a Red Mountain squad that carded 58 tallies.

Horn goal: clean, penalty-free game

If the Payson Longhorns are to emerge victorious tonight, Sept. 9, against the homestanding Fountain Hills Falcons, a priority must be to rid themselves of the rash of penalties that have plagued the team in the first two games of the season. In a season-opening 19-12 win over Chino Valley, the Horns were penalized 12 times. An obviously disgruntled coach Byron Quinlan called the clash, “the ugliest win I’ve ever been a part of.” One week later vs. Camp Verde, the penalty situation turned even worse with an unofficial 15 flags thrown against the Horns. Another team goal vs. FH will be to eliminate the mistakes and miscues that resulted in four interceptions and three quarterback sacks in the loss to Camp Verde.

Farm dinner benefits P-S fuel reduction

About 100 folks enjoyed a farm dinner at Fossil Creek Creamery Sunday night that benefited the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Inc. All local produce, meat and dairy was used to prepare a four-course dinner, plus a reception and appetizers. Participating in preparing this fabulous feast were Chef Akos Szabo, Top of the Rock in Tempe; Chef Gerardo Moceri, Gerardo’s Firewood Cafe in Payson; Chef Tracy Dempsey, pastry chef from Scottsdale; Chef Tammie Coe, owner of Tammie Coe Cakes; and Chef Michael Dahling of SYSCO food service. Vita-Mart provided produce from its 25 local producers.

Clubs and Organizations

Rim Country Celts will meet at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11 at Tiny’s Restaurant on Highway 260, Payson. All who are interested in the Celtic peoples, their customs and their history are invited.

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Life as art

Biologist and teacher turned artist discovers that with oils, as with life, sometimes you have to listen to the painting

Most people figure artists live in some alternate world — cutting an ear off to impress a girlfriend and living lives of outrageous strangeness. Perhaps we embrace that stereotype so we can ignore the artist that lurks in our own hearts. But then along comes a painter like Tina Crabdree. Suddenly, you have to rethink your assumptions about artists — and maybe even yourself. If you look at her dense, moody oil paintings now, you’d assume she has painted all her life. Instead, her path includes incarnations as a wildlife biologist, science teacher, alternative school founder, full-time mother — and even a stint in the insurance business. All of that proved perfect preparation, as it turns out, for life as an artist.

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Oktoberfest, car show will take place Sept. 17-18

Occasional storms passing through our area have brought spotty accumulations and some cloud cover as of late. Hot summer days are giving in to slightly lower seasonal temperature changes. It is forecast to have partly cloudy skies over our weekend, with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the high 40s. Heber Overgaard Chamber of Commerce is preparing for its annual “Oktoberfest” to be held Saturday, Sept. 17 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Bison Ranch. Live music, various food vendors and a beer garden will be set up during the event.

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Small-town hospitality at its finest at arts, crafts event

Small-town hospitality was at its finest last weekend as the laid-back locals shared their peaceful mountain paradise with masses of city refugees who stampeded into town for the Arts and Crafts Guild Labor Day festival. The annual event drew large crowds who came for the scenery, art and charm of Strawberry and Pine. It was bursting with energy as parents let their children run around and be... well, like children. Store owners lent their curbs and shade. The community groups were on hand with raffle tickets for quilts and even an ATV. The community groups in Strawberry and Pine have ongoing fund-raisers and activities for everyone of any age. If you’re looking for something to do, you don’t have to look very far in Strawberry and Pine.

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Auxiliary BBQ dinner, motorcycle event made for a busy time

Tonto Village has never been busier than this past weekend. Not only was the Hellsgate Fire Department Auxiliary serving their famous BBQ dinner and bake sale on Saturday, but the “Island” was filled with members of the Modified Motorcycle Association of Arizona holding their annual ‘Camp and Jam’ sponsored by the Double D Café and Bar. It was an outstanding success for the auxiliary and for the motorcycle club. They also participated in our event by visiting the bake sale tables and eating the delicious pit BBQ sandwiches.

Cool weekend spent in the high country pines

This past week, Ann and I had the opportunity to entertain for a three-day event in Pinetop. Boy, what a “cool” way to spend the holiday weekend. On our off time, we took in the movie, “The Help,” starring Emma Stone. I would most certainly give it two thumbs up. The plot centers on a young, white woman, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids during the early 1960s in Jackson, Miss. Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a controversial book from the point of view of the maids (known as “The Help”), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.

Beth Moore simulcast will be at Mountain Bible Church Saturday

Mountain Bible Church’s Women’s Ministry will present a Beth Moore simulcast, “Life-Changing Bible Study — Inspiring Worship,” from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 at Mountain Bible Church, 302 E. Rancho Road, Payson. Moore is an American evangelist, author and teacher. She founded Living Proof Ministries, a biblically based organization for women, in 1994.

Two fires burning in Globe Ranger District

Globe Ranger District fire specialists are currently managing two lightning-caused wildfires: the Frio now at 2,100 acres, in the Pinal Mountain range, and the 650 Fire, which began Aug. 28 seven miles north of Superior in the Superstition mountains on Montana Mountain. The 650 Fire is approximately 3,800 acres in size. Smoke and flames from the 650 Fire may be visible to East Valley residents.

Fair auction a chance to support hard-working youth

It’s that time again! The Northern Gila County Fair is here this weekend. A lot of people don’t know about the livestock part of the fair. The Payson 4H and FFA youth will show their livestock projects — goats, lambs, rabbits, swine and steers — at 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9 to determine who wins Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, etc.

Payson lawyer honored

The American Association for Justice recently honored local attorney Arthur E. Lloyd as one of the 16 lawyers nationwide to complete the Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy. The National College of Advocacy developed the program, which only two Arizona attorneys have completed. Lloyd received the award in New York this summer during the American Association for Justice annual convention. Former President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker at the event.

Grandparents need to balance gifts with financial goals

Grandparents Day falls on Sept. 11 this year. While not as widely observed as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Grandparents Day nonetheless serves a valuable purpose in reminding us of the importance of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren. If you’re a grandparent yourself, you already know the joy your grandchildren bring you, and through the years, you have probably been generous with them in many ways. At the same time, though, you probably need to strike a balance between your heartfelt gifts and your financial goals. It can be challenging to achieve that balance. For one thing, you and your fellow grandparents have not been stingy in your giving over the past several years. America’s grandparents provided an estimated $370 billion in financial support to their grandchildren between 2004 and 2009, according to a survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

Register now for low-cost spays, neuters

Our adoption special has ended, but was a big success. We had 59 adoptions! Thank you again to everyone who participated in our Summer Adoption Special. Low-cost spay/neuter surgeries The Humane Society of Central Arizona and PAWS in the Park are very pleased to be partnering with Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge to provide low-cost spay and neuter of felines and canines through the Healing Hearts Mobile Surgical Unit which will be in Payson on Thursday, Sept. 29.

Girls empowerment program up, running

On a hot afternoon in early September, girls race around a set of bright orange cones in Green Valley Park with their coaches. Most run, some skip and one does cartwheels. “Good job!” yells coach Casandra Stouder. Instead of name tags, each girl wears a sticker with an emotion or feeling listed such as “Happy,” “Creative,” “Fun” or “Joyful.” They laugh, enjoying the physical activity. At no time does the word “win” cross anyone’s lips. Instead, participants hear shouts of encouragement and enthusiasm. The coaches organize the girls in a circle to begin talking about positive and negative thinking. The girls offer examples of what they believe that means to them. The activities at Green Valley Park represent the start of the internationally recognized program, Girls on the Run. A recent Tuesday launched the first day of a three-month program for girls from Julia Randall Elementary and Rim Country Middle School.

Wednesday, September 7

A real taste of Rim Country

Rim Country residents and visitors who want a real taste of the historic Rim Country need to get down to the Northern Gila County Historical Society museum between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10. The NGCHS is hosting a book signing for Jayne Peace Pyle, author of Git A Rope Publishing’s latest release, “Recipes from Anna Mae’s Kitchen.”

Dog day in the park

Bring your pack to Rumsey Park for some September fun

Four-legged and furry canine residents of the Rim Country are invited to bring their people to Rumsey Park for a fun-filled day Saturday, Sept. 17. Dog Day in the Park is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Payson Off Leash Dog Park. Sponsored by PAWS (Payson Area Woofers Society), the group that built the dog park, the day will include games, contests, mini-seminars and more, such as a raffle of a basket, which will include a $250 gift certificate from Star Valley Veterinary Clinic.

Good 2 Go

Sample wine and food from Italy at Rim Country Friends of Ferals’ wine tasting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18 at MoJoe’s Grill.

Glory be to our great God

What do you do to handle stress? Do you have a healthy view that causes you to exercise, eat healthy and drink plenty of water? Or perhaps you tackle the overwhelming events of your life with increases of vitamins and herbs. Possibly the home remedy of spa treatments including deep breathing, relaxing music, lavender candles and fresh lavender on your pillow

Why are we here?

When I was in college at Arizona State University, a professor that I had put it best: Why are you here? The thought worked then and it works now. Why are you here? What brought you to Payson and the surrounding area? Moreover, what in Payson’s past laid the groundwork for you to be here right now?

Northern Gila County Fair this weekend

The Mogollon Rim is a beautiful place with a bounty of hunting, fishing and hiking opportunities, but it also provides a cradle to nurture the bounty that makes a great county fair. That bounty has been celebrated for more than 50 years — in Pine for many of those and more recently in Payson. The 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair is this weekend at the Payson Event Center.

Getaway around Rim Country

A reunion for the Payson High School graduating classes of 1970, 1971 and 1972 is being planned. All PHS graduates from the early ’70s are invited to join the fun from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24 at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260, Payson. Enjoy dinner with all the fixings for $17 per person.

Another look at Costa Rica

More and more Americans travel to Costa Rica in Central America every year. The reason becomes clear after your first visit. It has 5 percent of the planet’s biodiversity. The top five attractions for most travelers are all natural wonders. If you are an outdoors person, Costa Rica is one of the musts to see.

The importance of spay and neuter

A recent conversation with Jane Burlison, an Australian shepherd/Border collie rescue volunteer, brought up the tremendous problem with pet overpopulation. The shelters in the Valley are overflowing and we all know what that means. The Payson shelter is also filled to the brim with puppies, kittens, dogs and cats.

Bringing home a puppy

The first step on the road to pet ownership is to ask yourself some tough questions: Why do you want a puppy? Can you afford one? Are you prepared to take care of a dog every day for his entire life?

Tuesday, September 6

Truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to banks in the real estate industry

Approximately five years ago, banks pushed for federal approval to enter the real estate industry. Not satisfied with being in the mortgage lending business, they wanted to control every aspect of the housing market. Inadvertently, banks have entered the housing market, but not in the way they wished.

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Man pulls trigger on new business

Scott Helmer is not afraid to pull the trigger when it comes to change. From a dairy farmer in South Dakota to now a gun shop owner in Payson, Helmer’s choice of businesses is as varied as the collection of new and used guns he carries.

Rim residents indicted in double homicide case

Three Rim Country residents have been indicted along with a Mesa woman and an Apache Junction man in connection with a July 25 drug deal that ended in a double homicide.

Legislators hear plan to thin forest

A succession of county supervisors, environmentalists and timber industry supporters appealed to the state Legislature to support a historic effort to thin the state’s overgrown, fire-prone forests at a special committee hearing chaired by Rim Country’s two House members.

Fair celebrates 57 years of traditions, high-energy action

The traditions of old-fashioned country fairs are celebrated in Rim Country every September. For 57 years Rim residents have enjoyed these traditions at the Northern Gila County Fair. The 57th annual Northern Gila County Fair is this weekend at the Payson Event Center.

Lawsuit will not stall Gila redistricting

State challenges federal review of voting rights of minorities

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn sections of the Voting Rights Act, but the lawsuit will not affect redistricting in Gila County this year, said local officials.

Pine-Strawberry brush program comes to an end

The Pine-Strawberry Fire District last week announced it would end a brush pickup program after all — at least for now. The fire department will do its last brush haul Aug. 31.

Why no Democrats?

Jerry Foster, president of the Northern Gila County Democratic Club, seems to proudly claim that there are no Democrats affiliated with the Tea Party. My question is: Why not?

Thanks to all who took part and helped with yard sale

We want to thank everyone for the amazing work they did to make our Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) yard sale on Saturday, Aug. 27, a success! The residents in our community are wonderful and we truly appreciate all you do for the children in our town.

Payson has wonderful health care

When Jeanne and I moved to Payson eight years ago, some people warned us that the health care was not good in Payson and we should keep our doctors, etc. in Phoenix.

‘Free’ federal money

I can’t believe it. I looked at that thing and talk about the “Emperor’s New Clothes” analogy. Of course some will talk about the “Free Federal Money,” but that’s the kind of waste that is killing this country’s economy.

Hellsgate fire chief elected president of state fire board

Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch has been elected president of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA). Hatch took the position over in late July and oversees an organization that represents more than 1,000 fire officers from around the state. It was 20 years ago that Hatch first joined the AFCA, soon after becoming the operations fire chief for the then Diamond Star Fire Department.

Another forest hearing, let’s hope the roadblocks come to an end soon

There was another hearing recently trying to get the 4 Forest Restoration Initiative plan moved off dead center. The idea is to let the timber industry thin forest trees, create jobs in the high country and help reduce the threat of wildfires.

Accessibility: From the roads of Arizona’s first district

I have had the pleasure of spending the month of August traveling around Arizona’s First Congressional District visiting with constituents and officials, getting the opportunity to spend time with them, and listening to their concerns. The challenge is covering a district that is 58,000 square miles. Here are some of the highlights from the month. I started with a Joint Town Hall with New Mexico’s Congressman Steve Pearce (in Eagar, Arizona to discuss the Wallow Fire and its aftermath).

Lady Horns fourth at Payson Invite

The Lady Longhorns shrugged off injuries to key players to finish a very respectable fourth place in the highly competitive 21-team Payson Invitational Volleyball Tournament.

Men’s golf association cups runneth over

A pair of prestigious “Cup” tournaments heated up Payson Golf Course fairways and greens last week. One, the Payson Men’s Golf Association’s President’s Cup, has been played for decades.

HPR ammunition now available nationwide

About a year and a half ago, HPR ammunition was little more than an idea on a notepad that was being pursued by a visionary named Jim Antich, who saw the growing demand for ammunition in the firearm industry.

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Penalties, miscues shackle Longhorns in loss

A gaggle of penalties compounded by miscues and missed assignments were too much for the Longhorns to overcome in a 35-6 loss to the Camp Verde Cowboys. Playing Sept. 2 in Longhorn Stadium the Horns shot themselves in the foot early and often.

Payson teen shoots down national honor

Shooting has been a huge part of Donnie Smith’s life since his parents gave him his first .22 rifle when he was just 8 years of age. Now 13 and a student at Rim Country Middle School, Donnie has turned his passion for competitive shooting into what he hopes will eventually yield a university scholarship offer.

Former Horn hits ESPN’s bright lights

Matt Wilson, a starting two-way lineman on Payson High’s 2008 undefeated 3A state championship football team, has taken his gridiron act to the next level. And it all could be seen on TV because the former Horn was a starting offensive tackle when his school, Northern Arizona University, played the University of Arizona Wildcats Sept. 3 in an interstate game that was nationally televised.

Senior qualifies for U.S. amateur championship

Joanne Travis is primed and ready for her second try at winning the United States Golf Association Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. The tournament will be played Sept. 10 and 11 at the Honors Course in Oolewah, Tenn., a suburb of Chattanooga. But before the Chaparral Pines Golf Club resident begins dreaming of a gold medal finish, she’s giving thanks she can even play.

Rec Roundup

Class: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the parks office and Green Valley Park. Information: The class is for students in the first through fifth grades. All fishing equipment and bait will be provided. Children should bring their own water to drink.

Payson Community Kids group looking for volunteers

Payson Community Kids, a non-profit organization that offers assistance and services to under served children and their families residing in the Payson area, needs some additional volunteers.

The argument for the ‘Unholy Trinity’

Richard Valdemar knows gangs. He grew up around them in Compton, Calif. He worked with them as a teen center leader. He studied them and worked to stamp them out as a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Summer flew by; and now it’s time to plan for autumn

“For it’s a long, long time from May to September” according to the old song, but it sure hasn’t seemed like such a long time since we were anticipating Memorial Day and now Labor Day is just a memory. I hope yours was pleasant … and just think, there are only 110 days until Christmas!

Senior fitness screening

A free senior fitness screening test will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 19 at the Mountain Bible Church, 302 E. Rancho Road.

To get Medicare benefits

Some folks may not realize it, but there are actually two ways to get Medicare benefits.  The best-known way is Original Medicare. With Original Medicare, you can choose any doctor, hospital, or other health care provider you want, as long as they accept Medicare. When you receive medical services or goods, Medicare pays the provider directly. 

PHS student first Arizonan to win FCCLA scholarship

Melissa Hill has tasted success since starting to learn the culinary arts. During her sophomore year, she won the FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) Arizona state culinary championship. Last year, she savored the success of being the first Arizonan to win an FCCLA scholarship to go to Japan as an exchange student.

Northern Gila County Fair will honor top projects with special awards

Visiting the 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair, you will see the place awash with ribbons — blue, red, white and big flashing purple ribbons and fancy red gingham ribbons designating the best of class and best of show for a given department.

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Outdoor Adventure Club boosts kids’ self-esteem

Time flies with mayflies

The water shimmers and glints as it gurgles down the path it has cut through the pink granite. Travertine lines the pools, creating white bowls that reflect back the turquoise water and reveal the creatures that live beneath the surface. Middle school children gather around Scott Davidson as he points to the mayfly larvae sitting at the bottom of a basin. “Mayflies are a good sign of water quality,” said the seventh-grade science teacher and leader of the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC).

Feature Teacher

My favorite teacher was my high school chemistry teacher Mr. Tayson. He did interesting things you probably wouldn’t be able to get away with now, such as exploding a volcano with chemicals on parent night and filling soap bubbles with gases to have kids explode them with a bit of fire.

Saturday, September 3

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Cowboys lasso, hog tie Horns

Sometimes you are your own worst enemy.

Friday, September 2

Shriners thank supporters

The Zane Grey Shrine Club of Payson wishes to thank all the businesses that supported our recent golf tournament to raise funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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School’s rope course gets hung up in permit approval

Before the district could hang ropes on a new adventure course, the project got hung up by the need for Payson permits. The Payson Unified School District built the course without town approval and without the necessary permits.

School board approves big jump in facility fees

A divided Payson school board on Monday approved a dramatic increase in the fees charged by the district to use school facilities. The new policy will impose as much as a four-fold increase in the amount the district charges outside groups to use classrooms, the auditorium, playing fields and meeting rooms.

School board frustrated by hike in property tax

Payson property owners face 50-percent increase in rates, along with an 11-percent decline in assessed values

Stunned by a 50-percent jump in the Payson Unified School District’s property tax rate, board members Monday grilled administrators on how it happened. However, many ended the session still sounding muddled. “As a board member, I’m really disappointed that we’re facing this huge increase this year,” said Kim Pound. “This is an extra $172 on a $150,000 home. This is a heck of a tax increase. With unemployment so high, we’re taxing people to death.”

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Early morning RV park blaze claims man’s life

A man died and a woman barely escaped with her life Wednesday in an early morning blaze in a Star Valley RV park. Ruth Butcher, 88, was sleeping in the forward area of a fifth wheel in the Lamplighter RV Park when she smelled smoke and heard popping noises coming from the rear of the trailer at about 3:20 a.m., said Lt. Tim Scott with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

Maddening lessons on a somber Labor Day

Once past the trout fishing, swimming hole splashing and back yard barbecuing, we face a somber Labor Day this year. Employment remains mired at more than 9 percent and a recent study shows that half of the unemployed have gone without work for a full year. The report out today shows no jobs were created this past month, the first time since 1945, according to some accounts.

Driver misses turn, plows truck into apartment’s patio

Payson Senior Apartments residents got a rude wake-up call last Friday when an allegedly impaired man missed his turn and drove his truck onto a resident’s patio.

Bargain hunting

I want a new computer. Where can I get the best buy? It’s worth the time to really research the possibilities. Wow! I found a super deal.

Your words are a comfort, inspiration

Mr. Aleshire, whenever I read one of your articles in the Discover section of the Payson Roundup, I’m reassured that my belief that Twitter, Twatter, and all that other “fluff” via computer, is just that ... fluff.

Tips for what to do, where to go this holiday weekend

Awash in flatlanders — one last weekend. How’d that happen: Labor Day? Already? Where’d summer go? Seems like the trees just flushed with leaves, the monsoons just smashed up against the Rim, the swimming holes hardly got used. What to do? What to do?

You never know when coincidence will strike, Part II

Last week I told you how I became interested in the 1948 presidential campaign. I was 16, so elections were not high up on my list of things I couldn’t miss. But when Senator Bob Taft of Ohio strolled into the bus station in New London where I was having a cup of coffee, sat down, shook my hand, and began to talk to me as cameras clicked and reporters ran around ... I will say, that got my attention. So I listened to some of the 1948 election campaign. On radio. They say that was the first presidential campaign ever to appear on television, but you can’t have proved it by me, Johnny. Never saw a minute of it.

Living in Habitat for Humanity condos not a pleasant experience

A concerned citizen recently complained about the state of the Habitat for Humanity condo complex on Longhorn and McLane.

Deficit: It’s past time to act in a bipartisan way

On Aug. 22, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero announced that Spain would be the latest European country to adopt strict limits on budget deficits and debt. Zapatero, leader of Spain’s Socialist Party, quickly secured backing for the proposal from the opposition conservative People’s Party, which means the budget limits will likely pass through Spain’s parliament by a huge bipartisan margin.

Monster trout stocked in Rim Country

Writer gets tangled in the karmic complexities of three-pound trout

The monsters circled lazily in the crystal clear Tonto Creek pool as I threaded my fly, poised on the unheeded cusp of a karmic breakdown. My hands fairly trembled with my proximity to those three-pound rainbows, holding fast in the eddy just as Mark Severson, the Tonto Creek Hatchery manager, had promised.

GCC board member given 10 days in jail, a fine for DUI

Gila Community College school board member Larry Stephenson has pleaded guilty to drunk driving.

Book offers a real taste of the historic Rim Country

Rim Country residents and visitors who want a real taste of the historic Rim Country need to get down to the Northern Gila County Historical Society museum between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10. The NGCHS is hosting a book signing for Jayne Peace Pyle, author of Git A Rope Publishing’s latest release, Recipes from Anna Mae’s Kitchen.

Fry bread sale set to help raise sports fee funds

Sophie Davis, of the Tonto Apache Tribe — along with her family and friends — is hosting a benefit fry bread meal from 4 p.m. until kickoff this evening, Sept. 2 at the Payson High School north parking lot just off Longhorn Road near the stadium.

Recreation Roundup Plus

The Payson Youth Football League will have its first home game of the season against Blue Ridge, Saturday, Sept. 3. Games start at 9 a.m. and go all day until about 5 p.m. at Payson High School football field.

Payson Niners recognize Medallion winners

The Payson Niners group held its monthly meeting July 28 and recognized the winners of the club’s Medallion Tournament. Isabella Sockrider won the Medallion low gross competition, while Mary Quigley was the low net winner. The winners will represent the Niners at the AWGA State Medallion tournament in the Valley in December.

Lady Horns set for marathon day

With the Payson High School volleyball team set to play six games today, Sept. 2, the Lady Horns will need all the depth they can muster to keep fresh, rested players on the court. After all, legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” and it has proven to be true in any sport, whether it’s football or volleyball.

Veteran duo leading the Lady Horn 2011 cross country team

Lady Longhorn cross country coach Jonathan Ball can call upon what he calls “veteran leadership” to buoy the team as it negotiates a rugged 2011 schedule that includes meets against Valley area “big schools” and northern Arizona reservation teams where running is a way of life.

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Wadington, Beeson top guns in Longhorn arsenal

Although boys cross country coach Jonathan Ball calls the team “a work in progress,” he is among the first to admit that the roster features two top-notch runners who could be among the best in the section. Senior Jamie Wadington and sophomore Dawson Beeson are the straws expected to stir the Longhorn drink as the Horns negotiate the Division III, Section I schedule highway.

Community Almanac

Labor Day Fun

The Pine-Strawberry Firefighters Association and The Strawberry Elite will be hosting the annual Labor Day weekend pancake breakfast in beautiful downtown Pine, near the rear side of the Arts and Crafts Festival at the Pine Community Center.

Are you ready to foster a shelter pet?

People frequently ask me if it is depressing working in an animal shelter, and I tell them “honestly…no” because there are so many things that make it a rewarding position. Not only do people who work in animal shelters love animals, but they live for the moments when an animal gets adopted or fostered out into a wonderful home.

Clubs and Organizations

The Payson Area Computer Association will hold its regular monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2 in the meeting room of the Payson Public Library. 

Keep your investments working –all year long

On Sept. 5, we observe Labor Day, which is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Of course, if you’re like most people, work is essential to your life, both as a means of personal fulfillment and as a necessity for achieving your financial goals. But if you’re going to attain those goals, you’ll want your investments to work as hard as you do.

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Nonprofit steps in to close abandoned mines

GLOBE – “Fire in the hole.”

As Manuel Cruz uttered those words into his cellphone, explosives experts on the other end of the line set off dynamite in two abandoned mine shafts on park land just outside of town. With two quick blasts, dirt and rocks filled the mines, one an upright entryway to the hillside and the other a gaping hole in the ground.

What your children should know about computers

School is back in session. And while you may have a temporary relief period during the day, the homework assignments, impromptu projects, and other schoolwork will undoubtedly pile up. But don’t let the teachers have all the fun. You can teach your kids a thing or two that will set them up for success for the rest of their lives.

Harry and his Mustang ‘chick mobile’

This Sunday, my good friend, Harry Sarre, will celebrate his birthday, with only 365 short days to go until he becomes a very proud centenarian.

Fire Belles looking for new officers

Phyllis, the current president of the Fire Belles, asked that I get the word out. The Fire Belles are looking for new officers. The statement from some members of the communities in our district other than Christopher Creek rarely ever hear about activities such as this. So, we wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity to get involved.

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This year has been the summer of snakes in the Village

Some people may call these days the “dog days of summer,” but I would call this time the “summer of snakes.” This summer has been exceptional with the stories of close encounters with poisonous snakes such as the timber rattlers in Bear Flat, Tonto Village and most recently in Diamond Point Summer Homes.

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Once you visit Pine you will return again and again

Visitors to Strawberry and Pine return time and time again, bringing with them their family and friends. Why? Once you go you’ll know. September in Strawberry and Pine means festivals, fun, and would you believe fashion? Yes, there is fashion in this rural mountain town where blue jeans are in and a columnist can’t even find red nail polish at the Ponderosa Market.

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RV park wants to amend its internal zoning code

The respite of moisture early this week brought warm, sunny, and sometimes hot afternoons. An influx of moisture from the southwest continues our afternoon thunderstorm influence through the weekend. Highs will attain lower 80s with lows in the mid 50s.

Cowboy talent garners respect

In Camp Verde, they’re confidently claiming “It’s our year” — meaning fans, coaches and players believe the school has the football talent to make a run at the Division V or “state” championship.

First year 4-Her’s little lamb now a big boy

Carsyn Oestmann joined 4-H this year and chose to raise a lamb for her first livestock project. What started out as a sweet, little, 2-month-old lamb has now grown into a big boy named Brody, who weighs about twice as much his young mistress, and if he stood on his back legs, he would tower over her by at least a foot. In other words, Carsyn did what she was supposed to do: she grew her livestock — exceptionally well.

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Rim Country’s bounty goes on display for three-day event

The Mogollon Rim is a beautiful place with a bounty of hunting, fishing and hiking opportunities, but it also provides a cradle to nurture the bounty that makes a great county fair. That bounty has been celebrated for more than 50 years — in Pine for many of those and more recently in Payson. The 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair is next weekend at the Payson Event Center.

Thursday, September 1

Photography exhibit at Down the Street

Down the Street Art Gallery, 703 W. Main St., Payson, will feature a photography exhibit for First Friday, Sept. 2 and through the remainder of the month.

Fair Time

Rim Country’s bounty goes on display for three-day event

The dust from the 127th World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo has barely settled at the Payson Event Center and it is time to start getting ready for the 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair.

Solving one of life’s mysteries

How to cut a mango (And what then?)

Mangos are the most widely consumed fruit in the world, yet some consumers shy away from buying a whole mango because they are unsure how to cut it. Don’t let this cutting mystery stop you. It is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 2: Victim of Apache Attack

A very early murder in the Rim Country occurred in May 1868 when a chief packer in the Army was killed by Tonto Apaches at the head of the East Verde River Canyon. The story begins as Colonel Thomas C. Devin took command of the military sub-district of Prescott, Arizona Territory on Jan. 17, 1868.

Family Vacations

The weather is still warm and it remains a good time to take the family on a vacation. It may be for a weekend or two weeks. Wherever you go, you need to pace your driving to stop frequently for the kids at rest stops or service stations with facilities. This is also a good time to replenish their drinks and to walk about for a couple minutes.

Laxatives Have Gotten an Unfair Reputation

Can a person have bursitis and arthritis at the same time?

Good 2 Go

Take “time out 2 shop” on First Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 3 at Payson’s Time Out Thrift Shop. Everything inside the shop and on the sidewalk will be at least 50 percent off. New treasures are arriving every day.