Stories for April 2012

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Monday, April 30

Pine Creek Canyon Road reconstruction project starts Tuesday

Pine Creek Canyon Road will be under construction from May 1 through Oct. 31, the Gila Public Works Department announced this week. The project includes widening and paving approximately 5,000 feet of Pine Creek Canyon Road, starting from the intersection with Highway 87. The project also includes water main replacement and installation of nine fire hydrants, funded by the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District.

Friday, April 27

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Dream Team

Lady Horns finish No. 1 in the state

The greatest regular season in the 26-year-history of Lady Longhorn softball wrapped up with a scenario befitting the greatest of all sports fables. So move over 1966 NCAA basketball champion Texas Western, you too 1960 U.S. hockey team that upset the Soviet Union in the Olympics finale and step aside Secretariat, greatest race horse of all time — make room in sports annals for the 2012 Lady Longhorns. The group will long be remembered as the finest ever and the first PHS softball team to finish the regular season undefeated. Moreover, the team for the first time in Longhorn history has nailed down the No. 1 power point seed, which means in the state championships, they’re the favorite to pocket all the marbles.

Teachers take the hit

School board ignores protests and concentrates budget layoffs on teachers

Brushing aside student and parent protests, the school board unanimously voted to lay off six teachers at its meeting Wednesday night. The teachers laid off include Sharon Stevenson from Payson Elementary School (PES), Donna Goble and Wanda Utz from Rim Country Middle School (RCMS), and Nora Lubitz, Ingrid Schon and Ron Silverman from Payson High School (PHS). Two other teachers resigned, including Jennifer Laird and Sylvia Sandoval, the wife of former Payson High School principal, Roy Sandoval, who was himself laid off two years ago. Lou Crabtree, the lone Spanish teacher for PHS, went from full-time to half-time, marking another contraction of the district’s vanishing language program.

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Deer Creek fire exposes danger

House fire rouses residents to lack of fire protection

When Wild Bill Gibson saw flames leaping from a neighbor’s home on April 16, he grabbed his camera, hoping to catch firefighters’ arrival. Surely, they’re already on the way, he thought. After 10 minutes, he wondered when they’d show. After 30 minutes and no sound of sirens, he wondered whether they’d show at all. As neighbors grabbed garden hoses and hurriedly sprayed the vegetation, Gibson realized they were on their own. Nearly 40 minutes after Gibson starting taking pictures, a crew finally arrived — a Forest Service Hotshot team, which immediately focused on keeping the fire from spreading to the forest and not the home. “I watched this home totally burn from one end to the other — waiting and waiting to hear the sirens of the coming fire equipment that didn’t come — that to me is unacceptable,” he said. Gibson does not blame the surrounding fire departments — he blames the community.

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Lightning sparks fire in attic of Payson home

A fierce thunderstorm apparently sparked a garage fire near the airport Thursday afternoon. Lightning struck a detached garage in the 1600 block of West Dalton Circle just before noon, said Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi. Next-door neighbors Danny and Wendy Helton said they were enjoying the storm in their pajamas when they heard a large crash and saw a flash of light.

Recorder defends spending

Tomerlin rebuts campaign charges

The Gila County recorder is defending her spending record against allegations raised by a Globe businessman hoping to take her seat in August. Democratic recorder candidate Mickie Nye has made claims at recent Payson community meetings that current Gila County Recorder Sadie Jo Tomerlin, a Republican, misused thousand of dollars in county funds to buy stationery and on top of that, is offering poor customer service. Nye, owner of a Globe Dairy Queen, insists he can do better and has the experience to back it up. Tomerlin, however, is firing back, saying Nye has his facts all wrong. Now, the county is supporting Tomerlin.

Highway 260 closure needed better traffic control

We were caught in that ridiculous road closure at 2:30 p.m.

Let’s help the Goebel family

The recent house fire that completely destroyed the entire contents and home of James Goebel Jr. and his family has devastated the lives of the family as well as touching the hearts of their many friends.

Blue Ridge conundrum

After reading Tuesday’s article “Pipeline averts financial crunch” I almost tripped while running for my computer to respond to the ridiculous statement that the town’s own Blue Ridge pipeline managers “Just recently learned that the ‘bureaucratic’ Forest Service requires detailed plans for the entire project” and these same town representatives shameless attempt to shift blame to the “Gordian knot of Forest Service bureaucracy.”

Regulations needed for squeaky brakes

For years we have been awakened around 5 a.m. every Monday by squeaking brakes on the garbage truck.

Questioning officials a cornerstone of our liberty

Water For Pine Strawberry is a group that has been in existence for the last four years.

Asking questions without intimidation

I was an attendee at the PSWID budget meeting and I do some of the research for the WaterForPineStrawberry.com Web site.

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Planetary Puzzle

Middle school students tackle Martian mystery — and learn to think like scientists

The “ah-ha” moment hung in the air. The NASA scientist posed it to seven Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) students who had spent months searching photos of Mars for clues in a planetary mystery: Which came first — the solar system’s longest, deepest canyon or a giant sprouting of volcanoes? They had just made a presentation steeped in frustration, with ample evidence to support either theory.

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Award-winning local poet shares secrets

Learn some poetry tips from Carrie Backe, a Payson poet and winner of the Arizona Senior Poet Laureate competition for several years. She will speak at a poetry workshop on April 28, sponsored by the Rim Country District of Arizona Press Women to celebrate National Poetry Month. The workshop is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Payson Senior Center, 214 W. Main St. The fee is $10. The workshop will provide tips about writing poetry, breaking some rules and entering poetry contests.

Tonto Village ablaze in blooms

Tonto Village is blooming all over. All the fruit trees have survived that freak snowstorm of a few weeks ago. The irises are showing off with beautiful shades of purple and lavender, yellow and white. Many of the residents have the flowers along their fences and it looks so pretty. I have heard quite a bit of sneezing, though, including me. Something that is blooming tickles the nose. I can handle that since everything blooming looks so nice.

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MSA taps Barcom for award

The Mogollon Sporting Association has selected one of its founding members to be the recipient of the prestigious Legacy Award given out annually to a person who contributes significantly and unselfishly to the Rim Country’s environment, education, conservation and economy. Gary Barcom received the award from Ted Pettet, also an MSA founding member, April 17 at Firewood Café.

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Lady Horns go undefeated

The 1973 Bachman-Turner Overdrive smash hit, “Takin’ Care of Business” wasn’t about Lady Longhorn softball team’s success, but it could have been. That’s exactly what the team did all season long, compiling the program’s first-ever unbeaten regular season (16-0) that became official April 25 in Lakeside where the Lady Horns ran roughshod over former 3A East rival Blue Ridge 9-1.

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Pat’s Run draws record numbers

The largest Rim Country contingent in the eight-year history of Pat’s Run turned out April 21 near Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe to compete in the 4.2-mile run that honors a man who gave up a million-dollar professional football contract to join the U.S. Army. Pat Tillman, a former Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals defensive star, was killed April 22, 2004 in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan.

PHS golfers fend off host RV

The Payson High School golf team erased the dire memories of last week’s upset loss to Phoenix Country Day at We Ko Pa by rebounding to win the River Valley Invitational. Playing April 20 on the Los Lagos course and the following day at Desert Lakes — both par 72 courses — the Longhorns were red-hot on opening day, carding an 18-hole school record of 292. On the second day, the team finished at 316 to edge host River Valley for the team championship.

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Payson wants higher apartment densities

Town council clears way to consider removing 18-unit-per-acre cap in multi-family zones

Developers can build smaller houses packed in tighter — so long as it still looks pretty from the street. That’s the gist of a proposed change in the zoning rules for apartments the Payson Town Council is considering. But don’t worry: The repeated public hearings necessary to change the town’s general plan and zoning ordinance won’t take place for months.

Worthwhile benefits highlight weekend

A pair of worthwhile benefits that deserve our unwavering support will highlight this weekend’s activities. Tomorrow, Saturday, April 28, the Lorraine Cline Memorial Fund Poker Ride will begin at the O-bar-C ranch in Tonto Village. The following day, Sunday, the Justice McNeeley Foundation-hosted “Casino Day” will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Sidewinders Saloon in Pine. The entry fee is $15 per person with additional buy-ins or donations available. Games include blackjack, roulette, craps and Texas Hold ’em.

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Pine’s inaugural Trail Day a top-notch event

Pine and Strawberry residents share their peaceful community with visitors throughout the year by hosting some pretty fun and amazing festivals. Pine’s inaugural Trail Day event Saturday, April 21 was no exception. This was truly a family affair, with activities for everyone. With free parking, free admission and free entertainment, it proved to be a great event for anyone on a budget.

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. Anyone interested in community service hours may call the lodge at (928) 474-6212.

It’s the little things that make it work

Little things like waking up in a good mood, or a superb cup of coffee in the morning will make anyone smile, but a true mood boost ultimately occurs after making a difference in the lives of innocent animals. The admirable deeds from local residents have caused HSCAZ to thrive in a rough economy, and the lives of countless animals in our community have been positively affected by these acts.

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Schools are heart of community, says new superintendent

Hitchcock hopes to bring small-town experience to bear on Payson problems

Payson’s new superintendent of schools, Ron Hitchcock, has small-town values in his blood. He grew up in Springville, Utah, population 29,605, where his Mormon community taught him the importance of family and community. “If you’re in a village or a town that looks at the students as their collective responsibility ... you have a safety net regardless of what the county or city would do,” said Hitchcock. He had to use the values learned in his youth when he moved to McKenzie, Ore., after raising his five children and his wife Sandie’s two children. McKenzie has a population of 5,530 people living near the McKenzie River. The district has only 340 children, most not living with their biological parents.

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Sew Show

Wearable art class to present fashions

Students from Leslie Peacock’s wearable art classes of the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters at the Payson campus of Gila Community College will present a fashion show from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, May 3 at the college located at 201 N. Mud Springs Road.

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Cruise-In celebrates ‘oldies but goodies’

For those who know a little something about classic cars and oldies-but-goodies music, you know that the 1962 Beach Boys hit “409” describes the Chevrolet 409, first introduced in 1961 and named because of its huge 409 cubic-inch engine. The song “409” describes the coupe version of the car, equipped with the 4-speed, dual quad, posi-traction equipment. It’s reported it could do a 12.22-second quarter mile at 115 miles per hour, going from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat, making the car a big hit among street racers of that time.

Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department needs volunteers

Hello again, fellow Creekers. The Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department is looking for volunteers. They are experiencing budget constraints and are in need of volunteers to help fill the gaps in personnel. They offer volunteers a chance to serve their community and a chance to get to know a different job skill. Please contact the Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department at (928) 478-4403 or stop by and pick up your application at Station #51 in Christopher Creek.

Heat takes toll on 50-mile runners

A 33-year-old Tucson man with years of long distance running experience, overcame the elements, including unusually high temperatures, to win the 23rd Annual Zane Grey Highline Trail 50-Mile Endurance Run. Catlow Shipek finished the run in 8 hours, 32 minutes — a time that didn’t threaten the course record of 7 hours, 51 minutes. The race began at 5 a.m. April 21 at the Pine Trailhead and ended many hours and miles later when runners crossed the finish line at the 260 Trailhead east of Christopher Creek. Of the 126 runners who entered, only 84 finished; the last crossing the finish line at 9:27 p.m. — 16 hours and 27 minutes after the race began.

Some important kinds of hospital insurance are free

I admit it. When it comes to certain aspects of doctors and hospitals, I have more questions than answers. Not about anything serious, you understand. I know as much as I want to know about the serious stuff. I try not to worry about it. My experience over the years has been that those who worry about their health too much often end up having good reasons for doing it. Reminds me of an old story: Charlie and the Tofu. You ever heard that one, Johnny? No? You sure? The one about the fellow who could not stand his wife after they’d been married a couple of years because he’d gotten hooked on all that great health food and she refused to have anything to do with it?

Community Almanac

The Northern Gila County Genealogical Society will be holding its Annual Yard Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28. The yard sale is at 302 E. Bonita St., Payson. All proceeds will go to the operating costs of the Genealogy Library.

Water use drop reveals impact of economic woes

Despite drought, Payson’s wells holding steady due to thrifty water habits

The good news? Payson residents remain so thrifty with their water that despite the return of the drought, we’re only using about 60 percent of the sustainable capacity of our water table — not even counting the coming infusion of water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir. The bad news? One reason we’re using so much less water is that there are fewer of us.

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Hundreds of vintage cars converge on Payson this weekend

The 19th Annual Beeline Cruise-In Car Show is not an official Arizona Centennial event, but you can bet it will be a party when between 200 and 300 antique, vintage and classic cars decorate Green Valley Park Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28. See the The Rim Review in today’s issue for all the details, with features on the “before and after” look of many entries.

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Foreign exchange families honored

Mike Buskirk, Daria Mason and family; Scott and Janet Nossek and family; and Michael and Theresa Garré and family have earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award for their support of nonprofit EF Foundation for Foreign Study (www.ef foundation.org), the leader in high school exchange. For the past nine months, the three families have opened their hearts and homes to three high school students from Germany and Japan.

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Payson Choral Society goes to the movies

The Payson Choral Society’s spring concert, “Let’s Go to the Movies,” directed by Daria Mason with accompaniment by Cynthia Sambrano, comes to the Payson High School auditorium Saturday, May 5. Performances are scheduled at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. The theme of the concert will let you enjoy songs from movies such as “Working 9 to 5,” “Top Hat,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Shrek” and everything in between.

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Hospice Compassus volunteers honored

The special work of Hospice Compassus, making the last months of life filled with comfort and tenderness, would not be possible without a dedicated group of volunteers. Thirty-one men and women, both full-time and seasonal residents, work with the medical and other professionals at Hospice Compassus to ease the last of life’s journey for both patients and their families. Between them, these volunteers have almost a century of experience in this very extraordinary field.

Payson schools teacher layoffs too lopsided

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” – Chinese Proverb Once more, declining enrollment and declining state support have forced painful budget cuts on the Payson Unified School District. We understand the necessity, but last night’s decision to lay off only teachers — and some gifted teachers at that — did the students of this district no favors. Teachers account for only about half of the employees in the district — but they had to absorb all the layoffs. But that’s not even the worst of it.

Forest Service land sale for campus progresses

Payson ranger believes 300-acre parcel could be freed for sale after October

The Forest Service continues to plod through the process of selling 300 acres to the Rim Country Educational Alliance, despite uncertainties about whether the group can strike a deal with Arizona State University. Countering suggestions the land sale awaited money for environmental studies, Payson Ranger District head ranger Angie Elam said, “we’re moving through NEPA as quickly as we can. Completion is scheduled for this fall — I think in October.”

Women’s Conference tomorrow at LDS church

A Women’s Conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 28, with lunch immediately following.

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Payson teacher scores top business award

Payson High School technology teacher Bud Evans led his award-winning band of business and technology students to a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) conference in April — and came back with an award of his own: Arizona FBLA Adviser of the Year at the FBLA State Leadership Conference.

Volunteer fair seeks to help service groups

Sunday event highlights benefits of donating time

When Meals on Wheels volunteer John Wakelin makes food deliveries to needy seniors, he doesn’t do it for the pay, he doesn’t do it for the fame and he doesn’t do it for the tips (there aren’t any). He finds helping others is simply good for the soul. And studies back what most volunteers find after just a few hours of work. Volunteers not only receive a “helper’s high,” but have increased trust in others and increased social and political participation, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development.

Wednesday, April 25

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Cruise-In features at least 250 cars

They’re baaaack … Antique, vintage and classic cars are rolling into town and tons of bright, shiny chrome and sparkling paint jobs are going to be adding an extra glow to the clean, clear air of the Rim Country this weekend. The Rim Country Classic Auto Club’s 19th Annual Beeline Cruise-In returns to Payson Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28.

Another kind of cruising

The oceans occupy two-thirds of our planet, so it is sometimes difficult to decide what part of the globe we might cruise in. If it will be your first cruise, then perhaps one of the more popular areas might be in order. The Caribbean is very popular year-round, so are Hawaii and the Panama Canal. If you are thinking of a cruise in the non-winter months, then much of our planet can be considered.

1924 Model T Ford - Al Isham

Al spotted this jewel on a car lot in Moon Valley about 1986, and eventually convinced them to sell it to him.

1940 Chevy Coupe - Doug Magnuson

Doug bought his Chevrolet in 1958 while still a teen attending Pasadena Community College and working at a body shop.

1935 Packard Touring Sedan - Fowlers

Steve and Margie Fowler found their 1935 Packard in 1998 rusting peacefully in a field in Napa, Calif., near where they lived at the time. Margie thought Steve was nuts, but let him buy it to keep him out of mischief.

Camp Tontozona

A campaign to raise funds for a return to Camp Tontozona was announced by Arizona State University officials last week. If $150,000 can be raised by June 1, the football team will be at Camp Tontozona from Aug. 14 to Aug. 18 of this year. Let’s take a look at some of the history behind this place that is so special to many Sun Devils. Camp Tontozona existed before football came.

About the RCCAC and the show

The Rim Country Classic Auto Club, as it is known it today, had its beginnings in the early 1980s when a few people shared a common interest in restoring and driving classic cars. They cruised around Payson where they met and talked about their cars. As the group flourished, the number of members grew.

First car in town in 1916; lined Main in 1918

Walter Lovelady recalled that Jesse “Jess” Chilson brought the first car into Payson in 1916. It was a Marmon and was considered the “Cadillac” of the day. Jess drove his car up the Apache Trail from Phoenix, across Roosevelt Dam and followed the road along the south side of Roosevelt Lake that had been used by freighters during the building of the dam.

OUR MISSION

The Rim Country Classic Auto Club’s Beeline Cruise-In is a celebration. It is a party that the RCCAC hosts for club members, friends and others who share a love of old cars.

1962 Plymouth Sport Fury - Colemans

Larry and Julie Coleman bought their 1962 Plymouth Sport Fury Golden Commando Convertible from a junkyard in Napa, Calif. in 1995. This is a fairly rare model, as only 1,516 Sport Fury GC Convertibles were made.

1957 Corvette - Carl and Judy Curtis

Purchased in 1985, Carl and Judy Curtis’ 1957 Corvette was a basket case. The engine was missing, the transmission was in the trunk, and the paint was nearly gone. Also missing were many small parts that took several years to round up.

1972 Dodge Demon - Otis and D.J. Wells

Otis bought this car brand new from a dealer’s showroom floor in Costa Mesa, Calif. and has owned it ever since.

Sponsors help make good show great

Rim Country Classic Auto Club gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions to the Beeline Cruise-In Car Show by its sponsors

1939 Chevrolet - Jim Winters

Jim found this car as a “field-fresh” project in 1987.

Remembering RCCAC’s founding president

Richard Henry Brooks Sr. was the founding president of the Rim Country Classic Auto Club, but he never had a car in the club’s big Beeline Cruise-In Car Show. However, he remained the club president until he moved away. Brooks died earlier this month (April 6, 2012) at his home in Candy Kitchen, N.M., where he had moved in 2000 from the Rim Country.

1979 Chrysler 300 Race Car - John Cailey

This tale is unique in that a pristine, but perhaps less than exciting, car has been turned into a powerful weekend warrior at the drag races. John Cailey was given this car by his father in ’94, and after driving it several thousand miles home with some adventure along the way, it became a daily driver in the Illinois rust belt for a few years.

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Another mark in the Win Column

The Lady Longhorn softball team improved its record to 25-3 and remained unbeaten in the regular season with an 11-8 win over Camp Verde on Feb. 24 on Payson High field.

Tuesday, April 24

Payson to provide building inspectors for Star Valley

Payson and Star Valley’s cozy new good neighbor policy took another step forward last week. The Payson Town Council unanimously approved a plan to rent Star Valley a building inspector, to complete inspections of the lone house under construction. Star Valley lost its building inspector this week and hoped Payson would both complete inspections of its only construction project and talk about taking over building and plan approvals on a contract basis. Payson Town Manager Debra Galbraith suggested charging Star Valley $20 an hour, to cover the Payson building inspector’s hourly rate and drive time.

Dump electronic waste for free this Saturday

Get rid of potentially dangerous electronic waste for free on Saturday, April 28 at the Payson Event Center. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will host the third annual Electronics Waste Recycling Event to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1400 S. Beeline Highway.

Fun Run to raise money for Payson Supply Line

The Payson American Legion Riders are beginning preparations for our Seventh Annual Charity Fun Run to benefit Payson Supply Line.

Forest restoration for a new economy

Arizona has more than 20 million acres of forest land. Forests have long contributed to Arizona’s economy and quality of life.

The differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities

With more than 50 percent of Payson’s population being 55 and older, choosing a care facility for an aging parent or a loved one is a situation that many in our community will most likely face.

Lady Longhorns play it perfectly

They did it again. On Friday, the Payson Longhorns girls softball team trounced archrival Show Low 7-1, with the stands full of happy fans and parents on a perfect Friday evening in Rim Country. Reportedly, some 500 fans and supporters turned out for the fund-raising barbecue dinner and many stayed to watch a little heart-warming history in the making.

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Tontozona backers courted new coach

The return of Arizona State University’s football team to Camp Tontozona outside of Christopher Creek will yield huge benefits to Rim Country beyond the $250,000 per day fans, players and coaches will likely spend. That’s the message a triumphant Payson Mayor Kenny Evans delivered to cheering locals at last week’s Payson Town Council meeting.

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Students take a life-changing trip

Advanced Learners group goes to Southern California on marine biology trip

They stood shoulder and to shoulder, holding hands with their pants rolled up to avoid getting wet as the waves covered their feet and their toes dug into the sand. They giggled — then laughed in pure joy at feeling the ocean for the first time. Jolynn Schinstock, mother of 13-year-old Tyler Krall, snapped a photo to forever remember the moment. “(Tyler) had never seen the ocean before,” said Schinstock, “It was a little like watching a kid in a candy store.”

Advocates embrace inner geek for kids

Felicia Moore usually loves to run in 5K and 10K races, but she has to bow out of the inaugural “Embrace Your Inner Geek Race” because of her health. Instead, her mother will run the race with Moore’s daughter Karlie Smith. “I’ve never run in a race like this before,” said Moore’s mother Pamela Foster. Moore had always told her mother she should sign up for a 5K race. “She told me, ‘Mom, just try it once,’” said Foster. So to surprise Moore, Foster signed them both up. Then she found out Moore has to have an operation.

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Clubs and Organizations

Elks members and guests are welcome to enjoy lunch at the Lodge from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; Friday dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday dinner from noon to 5 p.m. Basic refreshments are offered for sale at the Karaoke Night from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday in April and during the Elks Jam Sessions, scheduled at 3 p.m., every Saturday in April. Every Friday there is Karaoke from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Every Sunday there is Bingo at 1 p.m. and a Pool Tournament at 4:30 p.m. with Happy Hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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Little League opening day a big hit; 250 turn out

The Boys of Summer don’t exist only in Roger Kahn’s rousing, poignant book about his childhood life in Brooklyn where he became one of the Dodger baseball team’s most ardent fans. Payson has its own version in the 250 youngsters, ages 5 to 12, who turned out April 21 to begin the 2012 spring and summer Little League baseball and softball seasons.

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Hiking with llamas

Pine-Strawberry Trails Day highlights benefits of outdoor tourism

Llamas: Don’t they spit? Not unless they feel threatened. Do they bite? Not unless you’re a bush or a low-hanging juniper branch. Do they kick? To protect themselves, yes. Otherwise, no. But ... llamas as pack animals? You bet!

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Community Almanac

The Community Yard Sale, sponsored by Community Presbyterian Church, is from 7 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 12. The event is an outreach of the church to the community at large giving a great venue for local families to make a few dollars at a very low cost, with advertising provided by the church. For just $10 get a 10-foot-by-19-foot space.

New Sun Devil coach brings back discipline

After listening to newly appointed Arizona State University football coach Todd Graham speak at the “Return to Camp T” press conference held April 19 in Sun Devil Stadium, it’s obvious he might be the type of task master fans have been clamoring for since Frank Kush was cut loose as coach. Graham comes across as a hard-nosed, old school coach much like Kush was during his successful years at Arizona State. Among the reasons Graham was probably hired is because he stresses discipline and that’s a quality the Sun Devils lacked under former coach Dennis Erickson.

Morris hot streak heats up PMGA

Russ Morris is on a golf streak that would render Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson proud. His streak began April 4 during the Payson Men’s Golf Association’s annual Master’s Tournament, continued April 11 in a PMGA-hosted tournament in which players were restricted to three clubs and reached three straight successes on April 18 in an individual low gross and low net tournament. In the Master’s Tournament, Morris finished first overall after picking Phil Mickelson to win the PGA Master’s Tournament being played that week at Augusta National Golf Club. Morris carded a low net 68 and that score coupled with Mickelson’s four-round tally of 348 at Augusta propelled him to the top spot.

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Show Low falls to Lady Longhorns

The euphoria of being ranked No. 1 for the first time ever in the state power points has worn off and the elation of beating longtime rival Show Low, 7-1, is settling in. Late last week, the Lady Longhorn softball team reached the top spot in Division III power point rankings, but the stay was short. Only hours after reaching the top spot, unbeaten Estrella Foothills (17-0), which had been the poll leader all season long, reported results of an April 19 game which pushed the team past PHS into first place. With the move, the Lady Horns, 15-0 in the regular season and 24-3 overall, fell to second place about three points behind EF.

Pipeline averts financial crunch

Payson head ranger offers creative way to avoid loss of millions in grants by getting Blue Ridge construction started

With financial disaster looming, Payson Head Ranger Angie Elam managed to hack through the Gordian knot of Forest Service bureaucracy. Payson feared it would lose millions of dollars worth of federal grant money when Blue Ridge pipeline project managers learned the U.S. Forest Service rules required detailed engineering plans for the entire $34 million pipeline and water treatment plant before issuing a construction permit. That endangered the town’s ability to meet the deadlines written into a $10.5 million federal stimulus grant received three years ago and designed to produce jobs quickly at the onset of the recession.

SV rejects Blue Ridge water

Council won’t buy into pipeline and isn’t worried about groundwater contamination

Star Valley doesn’t need Blue Ridge water and doesn’t have a groundwater contamination issue, the town council decided during a two-hour meeting last week. After months of debate, the council decided it would not go after a share of Blue Ridge Reservoir water, unwilling to spend millions to secure rights to water the town may never need. But the back-and-forth debate about whether to pay for water now to avoid a problem later didn’t carry over to whether septic systems might eventually pollute the shallow water table. A water consultant had issued a sharp warning about septic tank leaks, but the council quickly agreed the town need not do anything now.

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Volunteers want to reopen Fossil Creek

Chamber hopes to enlist volunteers to reopen recreation areas

Fossil Creek Road could open this summer after all, if the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Payson Ranger District can cut a deal. The Tonto National Forest a month ago abruptly announced it would not open the only road down into Fossil Creek from Rim Country this summer due to the dangerous condition of the road and the uncontrolled swarms of visitors. Rim Country officials feared the closure would deal a fresh blow to the region’s vital, struggling tourist economy, since last year some 90,000 people visited the lush, spring-fed paradise — many of them passing through Payson, Pine and Strawberry.

Schools start teacher cuts

Layoff notices go out as district grapples with $650,000 shortfall and another year of state cuts

Payson Schools’ shrinking budget hit painfully home this weekend as the district sent out teacher layoff notices. The board will confirm the layoffs and other budget cuts at a special meeting on Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the district board meeting room. “After Wednesday’s meeting, we will have all of the budget cuts we need,” said superintendent Casey O’Brien. O’Brien’s budget assumes the Republican Legislature will refuse to accept Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Even Brewer’s budget included about $82 million fresh cuts for K-12 schools, the third year of cutbacks.

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Candidate in race because she’s ‘fed up’

Hallie Jackman launches challenge for Supervisor Tommie Martin’s seat

“I’m running because I’m fed up,” Hallie Overman Jackman declared to Northern Gila County Democrats. Jackman has announced she is seeking to unseat District 1 Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin. An Independent, she was a guest speaker at the Democrats’ April 18 meeting. “Awhile back I was asked to join in on some forest meetings and I came away disappointed. More recently, I attended some (county) budget meetings and I came away disappointed and frustrated,” she said.

Senior Center lands $87,000 federal grant

Payson also earmarks $121,000 from Community Development funds to help hard-pressed residents repair homes

The Payson Town Council last week agreed to give the Payson Senior Center $87,000 in federal funds to repair and upgrade its facilities and set aside another $121,000 in federal dollars to help low-income homeowners repair homes in blighted neighborhoods. Housing Coordinator Bethany Beck said that unfortunately, the complex rules attached to the Community Development Block Grant program limited the number of partners the town could have — which essentially barred a plea for help from Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.

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Congressman blasts forest thinning delay

Ambitious forest thinning project already falling behind schedule

Congressman Paul Gosar has written an insistent demand that the U.S. Forest Service move quickly to award the first set of contracts to thin fire-plagued woodlands as part of the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative (4-FRI). The Forest Service had originally planned in December to award 10-year contracts to thin 300,000 acres in central Arizona. However, although the Forest Service’s regional office in Albuquerque, N.M. has received several bids, it has yet to award contracts for a project advocates say represents the last, best chance to save communities in places like Rim Country from the devastation of firestorms like last summer’s Wallow Fire in the White Mountains.

Horns upset Cougars

The Longhorn baseball team’s quest to earn a berth in the Division III state tournament received an unexpected but much-needed boost on April 20 with a 15-5 win over the visiting Show Low Cougars. The win was somewhat unforeseen because earlier this season Show Low run-ruled the Longhorns 15-5 and entered the showdown between the former 3A East rivals sporting a better win-loss record. In regular season games, which make up the all important power point rankings, coach Dave Nikolaus’ Cougars are 11-3 and Payson is 9-8.

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Steve Coury Ford now has new management

Steve Coury Ford of Star Valley has always been a family business. And for Heath Wacker, the dealership’s new general sales manager, returning to the showroom is like coming home. Wacker worked for the Courys a number of years and even met his wife, who also worked at the dealership, while on the job. The couple is still together and Wacker is back at the dealership, working with old friends and a few new faces.

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Beeline Cruise-In rolls in Friday

Antique, vintage and classic cars are rolling into town and tons of shiny chrome and sparkling paint jobs are going to be adding an extra glow to the clear air of Rim Country this weekend. The Rim Country Classic Auto Club’s 19th Annual Beeline Cruise-In will hit town on Friday and Saturday, April 27-28.

Realtors seeing a resurgence in multigenerational homes

New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra is not only famous for his talents on the field, but also his mastery of the English language, in particular, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” It seems like history continues to repeat itself today. In real estate, sales cycles repeat and housing structure sees modification and rebirth. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, it was not uncommon for young families to rent a part of a home called a “two family.”

Friday, April 20

Stores pull designer drugs off shelves

As of Monday, Payson’s “spice” cupboards are officially bare. Payson Police officers checked local business and found all varieties of synthetic marijuana drugs are gone. Retailers were forced to pull the products after the town council passed an emergency ordinance banning their sale last month. The council’s action came after increased public outcry for the removal of the drugs, which have been linked to cases in which several people needed medical attention.

Thank you to Rim heroes

What is a hero? Are heroes athletes, which stun us with their athletic ability? Are they politicians fighting for their cause?

Time to amend the Constitution

On Jan. 20, 2010, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that will likely go down in history as one of the worst ever made, a decision that literally threatens our democracy.

Questions to the residents of Deer Creek

A few years back we lost a good friend. Jo died in her house in Deer Creek of an asthma attack while the paramedics waited outside her home for a deputy sheriff to arrive.

Vote Republican

Rim Country resident Don Ascoli has thrown his hat into the ring to contest the office of county treasurer.

East Verde now needs friends

Be good to your rivers — and they’ll be good to you. And that’s why you ought to pitch in and help Trout Unlimited turn the East Verde River into a first-rate trout stream, to the great benefit of everyone in Rim Country. Trout Unlimited will hold a fund-raising dinner with lots of cool raffle prizes this Saturday at 5:15 p.m. at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino. Most of the money they raise will go to an ambitious effort to create enough pools and barriers to make the already wonderful East Verde River even more trout-friendly.

ASU football team plans return to Tontozona

The Arizona State University Sun Devils football team could soon be returning to its Camp Tontozona roots. That’s what came out of a press conference held Thursday, April 19, inside athletic department offices at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. At the conference, Vice President for University Athletics Director Steve Patterson announced the “Return to Camp T” campaign that will require raising $150,000 to return to Tontozona this year. If the money is raised by June 1, ASU will conduct its preseason camp Aug. 14 to 18, with the annual fans’ scrimmage on the 18th.

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Crash closes Hwy. 260 for 12 hours

A 45-mile stretch of State Route 260 was closed Thursday afternoon for more than 12 hours after a fuel tanker crashed, spilling gasoline everywhere. Authorities closed the highway from Star Valley to Heber at about 11 a.m. when the tanker crashed 10 miles west of Heber, spewing 7,700 gallons of diesel fuel onto the roadway, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

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High school students protest dress code

American spirit lives on at Payson school

For those fearing that the revolutionary spirit of our American forefathers wanes, Payson High School students boldly braved the wrath of administrators to protest the dress code on Tuesday this week. The teens organized over Facebook creating a dress code protest page, which has since been taken down. A little more than two-dozen students showed up for school wearing tank tops, pajama bottoms, no shirts, holes above the knee jeans, sheer shirts and mini skirts, said Tyler McMinimy, a senior at PHS. Administrators met the protesters at bus stops and entrances to the school. Student protesters who did not have dress code appropriate clothes to change into were sent home, said Kathe Ketchem, PHS principal. Jacob Chamberlain, a sophomore, got away without wearing a shirt under his old marching band uniform jacket until he arrived at his second period class with science teacher Beverly Adams.

Benefit poker ride is next weekend

For John Dryer and Laci Sopeland, helping host the Lorraine Cline Memorial Poker Ride is a labor of love. Their devotion to the charity event is fueled by their fond memories of Lorraine Cline. Sopeland, is the granddaughter of Cline who died four years ago of lung cancer. Dryer, a longtime resident of Tonto Basin and one of the town’s genuine characters, was a close friend of Cline, who was a member of a longtime Gila County ranching family.

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Eagles’ wings clipped in PHS rout

Pitching, hitting key in win over Salt River

The Lady Longhorn softball team took another step forward toward an unbeaten regular season by humbling the Salt River Eagles 12-2 in a game shortened to 5-1/2 innings on the 10-run mercy rule. Playing April 17 on Payson High diamond, workman-like pitching from mound ace Arianna Paulson and the hitting of DeVann Runzo and Megan Wessel propelled the Lady Horns to the win and improved their overall record to 23-3, 14-0 in the regular season.

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Time Out celebrates volunteers

Life is often described as a roller coaster. Seldom a smooth, even ride; it’s more often than not, a decades-long journey that features tremendous highs, then turns around and smacks us upside the head with God-awful lows. It’s during life’s really low times that we sometimes wonder if we’re ever going to take the turn upward again. without the help of others, we just might remain stuck at the bottom for a long, long time. We are fortunate to have professional organizations that specialize in helping people who are stuck at the bottom and who on their own aren’t able to push their coaster car back up the track again.

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Grudge match fires up team

Girls softball squad heading for playoffs

The painful memories remain — recollections that Payson faithful would like to wipe away. But as excruciating as they are, the memories continue and one of the few ways to ease them is for the Lady Longhorns softball team (23-3) to emerge victorious today on Payson High field against longtime rival Show Low in a game starting at 6 p.m.

Community Alamanac

In order to raise funds for the Democratic Club of Northern Gila County’s election office and activities, George and Shirley Schriner have volunteered to host a yard sale at their home Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21. Their home is located at 1501 N. Farview Drive in Payson. It is near the corner of North Easy Street. 

Clubs and Organizations

The Rim Country Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution will meet at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 21 at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260.

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State Farm insures title with twin wins

Ted Pettet State Farm Insurance fought its way out of the losers’ bracket in the Town of Payson men’s basketball league to twice upset previously unbeaten Team HPR and win the tournament championship. Playing April 12 at Rim Country Middle School, without Jason Schwein who had broken his arm a week before the championship showdown, State Farm whipped Team HPR 72-59 to force an “if” game for all the marbles.

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Celebrate the Arizona Trail Saturday in Pine

A few years ago the movie “The Bucket List” inspired some people to create a list of things they wanted to do before they “kicked the bucket.” Mostly these lists consisted of travel and adventure — see the Grand Canyon, skydive, ride in a hot air balloon or even ride an elephant. I didn’t jump on that bandwagon, but if I had, mine would definitely include hiking the Arizona Trail through the rugged and beautiful Arizona backcountry.

Rescue teams hone lifesaving skills

Mounted posse adds heavy lift capacity to search and rescue

It started like any other search and rescue: a call for help. Five members of a church group hiking the Barnhardt Trail Saturday had not returned. Then airplanes flying into Phoenix detected a distress signal from a personal locator beacon south of Payson near where the group said they were going. Was someone hurt badly? Could crews get to them in time? And exactly where were they? Search and rescue personnel knew they needed to act quickly, but carefully. Carelessly rushing in could wind up with rescuers themselves hurt or lost, especially in the day’s cold, snowy conditions. Luckily, it was all just a test.

Dump the Drugs day April 28 at Walmart

Residents can drop off prescription drugs April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot. The Gila County Sheriff’s Office, Payson Police Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Drug Enforcement Administration are sponsoring the event. Last October, Americans turned in 189 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners.

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Ultra runners set for Zane Grey 50-miler to test endurance, stamina

The Zane Grey Highline Trail 50-Mile Race might be the Rim Country’s best-kept secret, even though it’s one of the most legendary events on the nation’s ultra run calendar. Martin Szekeresh is probably the only local who knows much about the race, having previously entered it. He’s also worked as a volunteer host for several years. Szekeresh says runners describe the Zane Grey Highline Trail as the “toughest 50-mile trail race in the country” and claim it’s more demanding than most 100-mile ultra marathons. The 23rd annual race begins at 5 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, April 21 at the Pine Trailhead north of the Beeline Highway and winds over rugged Mogollon trails and through canyons to the finish line at the 260 Trailhead east of Christopher Creek.

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Use Ford Fenders, Power Baits for tourney success

Tracy Purtee might be the finest angler to approach for a few precious tips on how to catch and weigh in a string of prize-winning lunkers at the 28th Annual Spring Lake Trout Tournament set for May 12 at Willow Springs Lake. He’s a good choice to go to mostly because he’s an expert on tournament affairs having served as director for more than a decade. Also, Purtee willingly doles out advice unlike some local fishermen, who guard their secrets as if they contained the winning lottery numbers. His first tip is to be sure your tournament tackle box is stocked with Ford Fender Trolls and a supply of worms Ford Fenders, which were fashioned more than 70 years ago from the headlight reflector of a Model A Ford, are Trolls with a rich history. They are also one of the most popular options among Arizona’s high country anglers. “I like to use a worm with the Fender,” said Purtee.

Some houses live in our memory forever — Part III

I intended this to be a single column, but it seems to have grown to three on its own. I’m amazed. It’s all about a couple of simple places Lolly and I shared, but then they’re places that are so strongly engraved in our memories we just can’t forget them. I suppose the truth is that we are remembering each other in those houses more than we are remembering the houses themselves. And the kids too, of course, not to mention some great friends and neighbors who helped give those places a special meaning for us. What, after all, makes a house something to remember? People, of course. People — and the joy they bring with them.

Crazy weather, from snow to sun equals fishing fever

What crazy weather! Tonto Village got about two inches of snow this past weekend. My concern was the apple blossoms, I sure do want apples this year, but the buds had not developed enough, so I think it will be OK. I love spring because it is a time of renewal, not just of nature showing off, but it can be of faith, relationships, a hobby that you set aside to finish whenever or even of a love affair that didn’t quite finish in the right way. I listened to the local weather report this morning and the forecast is favorable for outdoor projects — specifically, finishing the siding on our new addition, but I was also thinking of fishing. I am starting to get fishing fever. It is time to make time!

Zane Grey 50-Mile Run participants coming to area

Hello again, fellow Creekers. The 23rd Annual Zane Grey 50-Mile Endurance Run on the Highline Trail is this Saturday, April 21. All the slots are filled and registration is closed for the event. The run will start at 5 a.m. and will go all day until the last runners come in around 9 p.m.

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Hell of a hard hike to get to paradise

Fossil Creek Trail lures the ill prepared for a chance to splash in travertine pools

Each year, in that glorious time between the brisk cold of winter and the searing heat of summer, my children and I embark on an expedition down the Fossil Creek Trail to the spring source. One of our favorite trips of the year, we look forward to playing in those magical pools, but also prepare for the trek with plenty of water, hats, lots of snacks and time. Unfortunately, many of the people badly underestimate the rigors of the eight-mile round trip complete with 3,000 feet of elevation lost and then painfully regained. Every weekend, search and rescue teams haul the unlucky or ill prepared up the long, steep trail. This summer could set rescue records, especially if the current closure of Fossil Creek Road prompts even more flip-flop-wearing, beer-cooler toting flatlanders to go slopping down the trail.

Foster care review board needs volunteers

A citizen board that advises the courts on finding foster children permanent homes is in desperate need of local volunteers. Payson’s Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) has three vacancies, said Sandy Guizzetti, FCRB’s regional manager. The FCRB is a statewide program with at least one board in every county. In Gila County, there is a board in Payson and Globe.

Earth Day lessons can apply to investors, too

Started in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day, on April 22, is designed to create awareness of the Earth’s environment and to encourage conservation efforts. If you and your family participate in the day’s events, such as helping clean up a local park or taking materials to a recycling center, you know the benefits of doing your part to improve. But are you doing everything you can to upgrade your environment for investing? Actually, as an investor, you can learn a lot from the lessons of Earth Day. Here are just a few ideas: • Diversify. If you’re familiar with Earth Day, you know that it involves multiple activities, including educational programs and do-it-now action steps.

Financial report shows Rim Country economy mending

Building permit fees surge for first time since 2008

Most of Rim Country’s economic indicators brightened in March, along with the state’s jobs picture. Sales tax and vehicle license tax figures rose modestly and building permit fees jumped, the latest sign that the region’s economy is slowly recovering from the devastation of the housing collapse. Meanwhile, the state’s jobless rate dropped to 8.6 percent as the economy added 19,000 non-farm jobs, the strongest gain in the March figures since 2006. That gain built on the addition of 28,000 jobs statewide in February. The tourism sector led the recovery in March, but even the long-sickly housing sector participated — with the addition of 3,800 jobs statewide. Gov. Jan Brewer hailed the decline in the state unemployment rate as evidence that the state’s economy is “finally on the right track.”

Smallmouth Bass invade Fossil Creek

Miles of rare refuge for endangered native fish threatened by invasion of a voracious predator

Smallmouth bass have invaded the lower reaches of Fossil Creek, threatening the premier stream for endangered native fish in Arizona. The voracious, non-native predators first invaded the creek a year ago after a flood piled up debris on the downstream side of a fish barrier intended to keep bass from moving up the creek from the Verde River. Arizona Game and Fish biologists thought they’d dealt with that invasion by building a temporary barrier several miles upstream and repairing the permanent structure. But now they’ve discovered at least nine additional bass several miles above even that temporary barrier, said Arizona Game and Fish Fisheries Branch Manager Kirk Young.

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Cook’s nightmare

Wife rolls her wheelchair-bound husband of 50 years away from burning home

A lifelong passion for cooking went up in smoke Wednesday night with a bag of frozen french fries. Eilene Lucas, 74, said she was preparing dinner for her husband Bill before the television show “Survivor” started at 7 p.m. when an untended pot of oil caught fire and quickly spread to the rest of the kitchen.

Thursday, April 19

Highway 260 east of Payson closed due to crash

A 45-mile stretch of State Route 260 is closed in both directions due to a fuel tanker crash approximately 10 miles west of Heber (mileposts 257-302) at 11 a.m. Thursday, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Tuesday, April 17

SV faces crucial water decisions

Star Valley has wrestled with one question since incorporation: is there enough drinkable water to last? Answers have proven elusive. The town could go after Blue Ridge water, test wells for contamination and further monitor well water levels. Now, Star Valley officials hope the council will finally make its mind up at Tuesday’s council meeting. “Right now they are as clear as mud,” said Town Manager Tim Grier.

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Flames gut Deer Creek residence

A Deer Creek house Monday morning caught everyone off guard. It took some time for crews to arrive after the fire was reported just before 10 a.m., since the small, unincorporated community south of Rye isn’t covered by a fire district. Tonto Basin Fire Chief Steve Holt said he wasn’t going to send any crew at first, because he didn’t want to put his district at risk, but he didn’t want to see the rest of the neighborhood go up in flames. However, the next time there is a fire in the community, he likely won’t send any personnel due to financial constraints and the risk of leaving his district vulnerable. By the time Tonto Basin and Forest Service firefighters arrived, flames had fully engulfed the stucco home at 124 E. Cat Claw Road.

Flibotte waiting, declining

Realtor hopes governor will commute 90-year child porn sentence

As a former local Realtor waits to hear if the governor will shorten his 90-year sentence for possessing child pornography, his health continues to decline, said his lawyer. Due to the length of the sentence, Robert Flibotte, 74, remains in virtual lockdown in a Florence prison’s special management unit said appeal attorney Edward Novak Monday. “It is a very stark and very intimidating place,” Novak said. “Physically, he continues to deteriorate.” Novak said the last time he spoke with Flibotte, the effective life sentence weighed heavily on the once-prominent Rim Country real estate agent.

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Awash in water

Lots of water. No new rate increases. Under budget and on time. So why don’t you all love me? That’s the gist of Saturday’s Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District’s two-hour public hearing that resulted in the approval of a $3 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which includes a $128,000 investment in a fourth, deep well. Despite the seeming gush of good news for the once water-crippled community, the tone of Saturday’s meeting at times seemed defensive, with repeated jibes directed at gadfly-critic Sam Schwalm, who sat quietly in the front row throughout the two-hour meeting, interjecting only occasional questions.

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FBI issues notice on murderer

One of the nation’s most wanted fugitives may be living in Rim Country, federal officials have reminded local police. Despite the lack of recent sightings of murder suspect Robert Fisher, the FBI wants officials to stay alert. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office passed that message onto some 80 Blue Ridge residents Saturday by e-mail. The blast message from Deputy Richard Shouse came just days after the 11-year anniversary of a crime in which Scottsdale police say Fisher slit the throats of his wife and two children, and then set their home on fire and vanished. Today, the FBI believes Fisher may be living in the Blue Ridge Reservoir area as a hermit or squatting in a trailer, cabin or an old home in the woods. Shouse wrote that the FBI had recently contacted him about the case. FBI special agent Manual Johnson, Phoenix media coordinator, said the FBI intended for the notice to go to local law enforcement, not the news media or residents.

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Child advocates need more help

CASA seeks volunteers to safeguard children – and people willing to report abuse, neglect

Memorize this: 888-SOS-Child. Got it? Good. You just made Gila County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Coordinator Katrisha Stuler very happy. Stuler wants to use April’s Child Abuse Awareness Month to get as many people as possible to memorize the number for the Child Abuse Hotline and use it if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected. Although using the letter code for 888-767-24453 has an extra number — it will still go through and alert authorities. “You don’t have to be sure, you just have to have a reasonable suspicion. If we don’t put children first, it will never change.” Still, she understands some people don’t call for fear of what might happen.

Nipped it in the bud

The recent rally to stop the selling of so-called “designer drugs” was a wonderful example of what people who care can really do.

Tax rate lowest in decades

I appreciate the two front page articles in the April 13 edition which makes so clear the decisions that are facing us in the upcoming elections.

Speakeasy in Payson? Who’s next?

I see that the chief of police reported to the Payson Roundup that his department had been investigating a “speakeasy” on Tyler Parkway for three months and had made a big bust.

Read positions on border security closely

First, I would like to thank the new editor for providing a different approach with the “Point-Counterpoint” section of the Opinion page.

Misplaced priorities

While I guess it will be nice to have wide two-lane concrete bridges spanning mostly dry washes on the 1.5-lane-wide gravel Control Road, I think the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

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PHS Mock Trial club in state competition

Mock Trial is for those who love to act and argue. Payson High School has a few students who love to do both in the club with a team named Payson Procinctus. For the first time in its six-year history, the team competed at the Mock Trial State Competition on March 26. As a further honor, Payson students Tyler McMinimy and Tyler Aguirre were named to the eight-member all-state team.

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Mudslinging dominates in county recorder’s race

Mickie Nye, candidate for the Gila County recorder’s office, says he wants to restore the department’s customer service, but first he’ll have to cope with some high-profile mudslinging in the race for a normally low-key office. Nye recently spoke to the Democratic women’s club about his bid to become the new recorder. “We’ve heard several complaints about the recorder’s office,” said Nye. Among them are poor customer service, budgetary waste and a political agenda.

Volunteers protect kids

Gotta love this town. Consider, for the moment, a telling statistic buried in today’s front-page story about the effort to protect children from abuse and neglect. On the face of it: The numbers are dispiriting. Some 10,000 children languish in the state’s foster care system, removed from their homes as a result of abuse and neglect. That includes 80 children in Gila County.

Community Almanac

The Community Yard Sale, sponsored by Community Presbyterian Church, is from 7 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 12. It is an outreach of the church to the community, giving a great venue for residents to make a few dollars at a very low cost with advertising handled by the church. A 10-foot-by-19-foot space can be rented for just $10. All proceeds from this event go to the Community Presbyterian Church Deacons Assistance Program that serves families in need.

Much more than a weed

Dandelions! They must have been put here on earth just so small children could pick them without being scolded. Their saucy blooms are among the first to welcome spring. Dandelions grow anywhere — roadsides, open meadows, cracks in sidewalks, yards — especially yards! There is a golden band of them along the north side of Highway 260 in front of Bashas’. Although it is commonly believed that early colonists brought the dandelion to this country, there are at least seven species native to North America. The common dandelion, which is often considered a garden pest, is an offspring of those introduced by European immigrants. They prized the early spring leaves as garden vegetables and made wine from the blossoms. Dried, ground roots were used for medicine. Dandelions are rich in potassium, which stimulates the production of bile and may be helpful in the treatment of liver disease. In the late 1800s, dandelions were in such demand that they were advertised in seed catalogues. The name is taken from the French dents de lion (lion’s teeth) referring to the jagged outline of the leaves.

Popular softball BBQ benefit is Friday, April 20

Lady Longhorn deep pit barbecue benefit dinners have long teased the palates of sports fans and boosters and have been a festive highlight of the spring sports season since local softball aficionado Charlene Creach-Hunt-Brown founded them nine years ago. The popularity is not only due to the delicious meals prepared by cowboy cook extraordinaire Albert Hunt, but also to the small-town camaraderie and good will. The next benefit is set for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, April 20 near the concession stand on the south side of Lady Longhorn diamond.

Smith to pace Horns in run for state gold

The emergence of Anthony Smith as one of Division III’s best golfers renders the Longhorns a state championship contender when the final tournament unfolds May 11 and 12 at Antelope Golf Course near Prescott. His steady play this season, combined with the talents of Jeffrey Kelley, Dean Harpe and Tyler Apps, gives Payson High a four-pronged attack that will be tough for any Division III team to contend with. Smith flexed his links muscle April 4 at the We-Ko-Pa golf course where he led Payson to a first-place finish and tied Kelley for the tournament’s low medalist honors.

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Cougars blank Longhorns; Payson looks for payback Friday

Winn dominates on hill and at bat

Payson High’s chances of earning a berth in the season-ending Division III state tournament took a big-time hit with a 10-0 loss to the Show Low Cougars. “We’ll have to be very lucky now to make the state playoffs,” coach Scott Novack said after the April 11 loss to the homestanding Cougars. Although the defeat was disheartening, the team rebounded the following day to soundly thump Miami 18-3 in just three innings.

Scary story with a happy ending

Payson man faced frustrations in trying to rescue injured niece in Italy

William Flower received the call from his brother-in-law last August that started him on a frightening and frustrating effort to enlist the help of the federal government to locate and help his injured niece. But after a maddening tour of the bureaucracy — he enlisted the surprising help of the Russian Embassy and a local congressman to struggle through to a happy ending of a scary story. “We (the U.S. government) don’t do a good job keeping an eye on Americans overseas,” said Flower. His brother-in-law called about Flower’s niece, who had just been in a serious accident in Italy. He told Flower he had received a disjointed and poorly connected phone call from the hospital in Milan from the Italian family with which his daughter had been staying.

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Chilson poised to break 13 seconds

Needs mark to run with division’s best

Lady Longhorn speedster Morgan Chilson’s chances for winning a 100-meter Division III state gold medal most likely hinge on her breaking the 13-second barrier. Attaining the much-coveted mark is what it will likely take to outrun some of the state’s best sprinters, including Lieke Elberson of Show Low, St. Johns star Savannah Brown, Estrella Foothills’ Jasmine Pratt and Darreyl Woodson of Higley. All have edged past 13 seconds this season.

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Audience just can’t help falling in love with musical

High school students stage lively rendition of Elvis Presley tunes

This weekend the Payson High School thespians donned their blue suede shoes, tuned up their wireless mics, and did it their way for three rousing performances of the musical, “All Shook Up.” Students entertained laughing audiences three nights running with a live band in the pit below the stage, intricately choreographed dance moves and belted-out songs based on Elvis Presley’s music.

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Knocking on the state door

“A win is a win is a win,” an obviously relieved Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman lamented after watching his team squeak by in what was expected to be an outmanned Miami Vandal nine. Although the Lady Longhorns, now 23-3, are accustomed to winning games by much larger margins — sometimes run ruling opponents — the clash on April 12 against the Vandals in Miami turned into a seven-inning barnburner almost no one expected. The Lady Horns received the usual standout pitching from Arianna Paulson, who struck out 18 in a no-hitter, but PHS batters couldn’t generate the offense needed for a runaway win.

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Rep. Flake crusades against government

Senate candidate blows through Payson with blast at federal spending, regulation

Republican Senate candidate front runner Jeff Flake brought his campaign back to Payson for the second time in three weeks with a sharply drawn attack on federal regulations, the Democratic Senate, President Barack Obama and federal spending. “We’re closer to the edge of the cliff than we’ve ever been,” said the five-term Republican congressman seeking to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl. “Unfortunately, Congress tends to not act only when we’re halfway over the edge staring into the abyss. I don’t think we know where that edge of the cliff is. We could have a treasury auction and there are just no buyers — and China says, ‘we have enough of your debt.’”

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Imaginations take to the air

Payson pilot uses paper airplanes and a video to give ambitions of fifth-graders wings

Although they have no children of their own, Rory and Donna Hansen volunteer their time to teach fifth-graders in Wayne Gorry’s Julia Randall Elementary (JRE) classroom about flying airplanes for a living and the importance of reaching dreams through education and positive personal values. Rory works as a pilot for Southwest Airlines. The company has an “Adopt A Pilot” program for fifth-grade classes. More than 1,000 pilots nationwide spend four weeks a year teaching kids the F.L.I.G.H.T. curriculum. F.L.I.G.H.T. stands for fearlessness, leadership, imagination, gratitude, honesty and tenacity. The program teaches fifth-graders science, math, geography, writing, and presentation skills through a set of fun exercises.

Friday, April 13

HSCAZ Thrift Shop is moving

In order to better serve the needs of our shoppers, the Humane Society of Central Arizona Thrift Shop will be moving just across the street from our current location. The new location (510 W. Main St.) is much more spacious — allowing us to stock and display more items by department, including furniture. We will have something unique every day, including daily specials, and will continue to stock all the favorites of our savvy and dedicated shoppers.

Weekend rescues required

Spring hits and so do pleas for help

A fisherman with a battered knee who spent two nights in the wild, a woman with a broken ankle who needed the help of 19 rescuers and a helicopter extraction from Fossil Creek provided search and rescue teams with a strenuous preview of things to come.

Allen won’t run for another legislative term

Powerhouse senator seeks more family time in running for Navajo County Board of Supervisors

State Senator Sylvia Allen won’t seek re-election in a redrawn district that includes northern Gila County. The staunchly conservative Snowflake Republican, who served as Senate President Pro Tem and championed independence for Gila Community College, said the demands on her family convinced her to instead seek an open seat on the Navajo County Board of Supervisors.

Gila County residents lack medical insurance

Medical debt, delayed care, uninsured residents, deaths all rise as lawyers debate health care reform

As the U.S. Supreme Court debates whether to gut recent federal health care reforms, new studies have documented the breakdown of the current system — even for people with insurance. That’s especially true in Arizona — with one of the highest shares of the uninsured in the nation — and in Gila County, where 30 percent of the residents rely on the Medicaid-based Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) for coverage. Unfortunately, even Arizona residents with health insurance have been sinking into debt, according to a study by University of Arizona researchers reported in the American Journal of Public Health.

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More school money woes

State, federal cuts and enrollment decline produce projected $650,000 shortfall

Payson schools face a $650,000 deficit for the upcoming school year, a frustrated Superintendent Casey O’Brien warned a sobered school board this week. Unless the state budget picture changes, the district will have to cut another 5 percent from its operating budget, despite an increase in health costs and other items. O’Brien didn’t speculate on how the district might close the projected budget gap, but acknowledged the board may have to approve layoffs or other painful cuts for the third year in a row.

Community Almanac

The 2nd Annual Rim Country Celtic Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15 at the Payson Elks Lodge dirt parking lot, located at 1206 N. Beeline Highway. This is an outdoor festival and is open to the public. Admission is $10 per day or $15 for both days for adults; for children 6 to 16 it is $5 per day or $8/2 days; those under 6 will be admitted free. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with a formal opening ceremony at noon; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, with the Kirking of the Tartan around 11 a.m.

Humane Society Thrift Store in old library space

I want to correct some wrong information that appeared in the Tuesday, April 10 Roundup.

Article misleading

The article “Rehire of retiree riles critic” was somewhat misleading.

Thanks to all for help with benefit

The Tonto Basin Kiwanis Club would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their awesome donations and support of our March 24 fund-raiser.

Give children a voice — volunteer to be a CASA

Every year, more than 10,000 children languish in Arizona’s foster care system due to parental abuse or neglect. In Gila County there are currently 80 children in foster care. The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program is an advocacy organization that trains community volunteers to speak up for abused and neglected children in court. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the CASA program wants to educate our community about the role child advocates play in making a difference for children in foster care.

New trauma for schools

Again? Good Lord. Not again. Payson Schools Superintendent Casey O’Brien this week braced the school board for the possibility that our battered but valiant schools may face a third year of cutbacks — perhaps even another round of layoffs. The district faces a potential $650,000 shortfall on a roughly $13 million operating budget, a reduction of about 5 percent. That’s not nearly as bad as last year’s $1 million, but it may nonetheless require wrenching choices in a district that has already cut past fat and deep into muscle.

Learn about colon cancer — It could save your life

Death stalks Rim Country — so Payson Regional Medical Center and the Senior Circle want to organize a posse. Well, not a posse exactly — more like a community meeting designed to help people deal with colorectal cancer — the third leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women in the United States. Last year, 141,210 people learned they had colorectal cancer and 49,000 people died of the malady, according to the American Cancer Society.

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Arizona Trail could boost Rim tourism

Forest Service seeks public feedback on nationally designated scenic trail that includes an 80-mile stretch in Rim Country

The Forest Service wants to encourage Payson residents to embrace their status as a gateway community to the 800-mile Arizona Trail which runs through Rim Country’s back yard. Completed in February on the state’s centennial birthday, the National Scenic Trail winds through 80 miles of the Payson Ranger District. Residents hope publicizing the trail will help boost the region’s vital tourist economy. “We have more of the Arizona Trail running through our ranger district than most,” said Chelsea Muise, a ranger from the Payson recreation department. At a March 14 meeting, residents listened to Arizona Trail Forest Service Coordinator Laura White and various other contributors.

Some road projects cruising, others in ditch

Tonto Creek bridge, Pine Creek Canyon hit troubled waters, but smooth sailing for Control Road bridges

Construction of new bridges in northern Gila County wrapped up last week on schedule and under budget. The project is one of a handful of roadway improvements in the county cruising forward. A bridge in Tonto Basin is the only one that appears years off course. Officials say they can’t pin down funding for the $20 million Tonto Basin bridge that would link east and west Tonto Creek residents and end decades of sometimes tragic swift water rescues. While design work is nearing completion, several attempts at securing funding have failed. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation rejected a grant application.

Put time and tax-advantaged investments on your side

If you are relatively young, and you have been investing only a few years, you possess an asset that is invaluable and cannot be replaced: time. And the more time you spend contributing to tax-advantaged investments, the better off you may be.  Time is your ally for two reasons. First, the more time you give to your growth-oriented investments, the greater their growth potential. Second, the effects of market volatility have tended to decrease over time, though as you no doubt have heard, past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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Payson Florist changing hands

Gift items on sale to make room for new inventory

One of the area’s best-known and biggest gift shops is changing hands. After seven years, Merlin and Marilyn Dedman have decided to sell the business, at 800 N. Beeline Highway, and retire to Idaho. Rita Jorgenson will take over April 21, implementing a number of changes. Jorgenson plans to sell off much of the business’ gift line and replace it with gardening supplies, including pots, birdhouses, bird feeders, plants and garden art.

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Gold and other treasures: FR 1705

I live with a conundrum. I adore hiking in strange areas, but fear going alone and getting lost or hurt with no one to help me. So for two years, I’ve sat at home staring out longingly at the forest stewing over this dilemma. Then I heard about the Payson Packers. The group meets every Tuesday morning in the Stage parking lot before heading off to hike the hundreds of forest roads, streambeds and trails of the Rim Country.

At last: Lady Horns softball team swinging for title

Fund-raising BBQ to follow Show Low game

The Lady Longhorns softball team this week rounds third base at a dead run, hoping to slide into history in May in a great cloud of dust. Arguably the best women’s softball team in Payson history, the girls in purple are a cinch for the state playoffs — and an exhilarating Longhorn longshot for the state title.

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Payson Little League opening day is Saturday

Spring may have officially started last month, but this weekend it really arrives with Payson Little League opening day Saturday, April 14 in North Rumsey Park. The day includes the first games of the season for the 250 youngsters, ages 5 to 12, who are participating on 20 different teams, plus special events to mark the day.

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Driver dies in Gisela

Douglas Glorfield drove toward a job in Winslow for his employer, W. Parker Excavating Thursday morning. He packed up his Wilderness by Fleetwood camper from its spot in Gisela to use as his home while he worked, hitching it up to the Dodge Ram 3500 truck emblazoned with the logo of his employer on the side, said Detective Karen Baltz of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

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Community garden sprouts

Volunteers race to get fence up, fields ready for April 28 opening

Payson’s first community garden will open April 28, just in time for spring planting. Organizers hope the garden will help families cut food costs, build community spirit and provide fresh fruits and vegetables for area food banks. Plots are still available and cost $50 to rent for the five-month growing season. This week, volunteers put an 8-foot fence around the garden, located at 300 E. Tyler Parkway, between the First Church of the Nazarene and KMOG radio station.

Mesa del ready to strike a $1 million deal for Blue Ridge water

A deal with the Salt River Project (SRP) to bring water from the Blue Ridge pipeline to Mesa del Caballo is nearing completion, officials said Thursday. Mesa del will be the first community to tap into an extra 500 acre-feet of water set aside for small communities in Rim Country. Payson will receive roughly another 3,000 acre-feet from the pipeline. Although the water probably won’t arrive until 2015, residents say they are excited at the prospect of ending exorbitant water hauling fees and chronic shortages.

Fuel reduction projects

Sam Seay, public information officer for Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department, has announced currently fuel reduction projects are being conducted at the Creekside Properties, Whispering Hope Ranch, R-C Scout Camp, Tonto Rim Christian Camp and Mountain Meadows Christian Camp.

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Prepare to be ‘shook up’ this weekend

The place: the gymnasium in Geneva Community High School, a small Midwestern city located 35 miles west of Chicago. The time: many, many moons ago. It was April. And that meant it was that time of the year for Mr. Frank Church, our high school music director, to present the annual high school spring musical. That year it was “Oklahoma.” Even after all these years, I still remember quite a bit about “Oklahoma.” The starring role was played by fellow senior classmate (one of 109 graduates that year), Bill Gehring. To this day, it’s still hard for me to believe that Bill had earned the lead role. He was kind of a goofball and not too serious about the academic side of high school life (not that I was too thrilled with it, either). But then again, maybe being a little goofy is a part of what makes a good thespian.

Some houses live in our memory forever, Part II

Last week I started to tell you about the very first home Lolly and I ever shared. We still both remember it well, even though we just celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary. I also mentioned the apartment we lived in while we were trying to find that first home. We stayed in the apartment for about five months. It was OK, I guess, but it was probably a good thing we stayed there first because I needed a little basic training in living on what was called the “local economy.”

Fireflies encourage ladies to join them

This past week was a wonderful Holy Week for the Snyder family. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the pageant held in Mesa at the LDS church. I have never seen the performance before and the whole thing just blew me away! There were hundreds of people there to watch the most amazing cast, almost 600 in all — not including the live animals. I was told that there was a performance each day during Holy Week and there were just as many guests at every pageant performance.

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Easter Egg Fun Day a golden opportunity for local youth

More than 1,000 eggs were up for grabs last Saturday at the Easter Egg Fun Day at the Pine Trailhead, including six prize-packed golden eggs. Two of these special eggs were hidden inside each of the age group areas. The youngest two winners each received a stuffed bear for their lucky find, winning toddlers received a basket of play supplies, and the oldest kids won $10.

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A useful Disaster

An ingenuous civilization raised monuments to persistence on the ashes of a cataclysm at Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments

The Hopi believe their kachinas created the Sunset Crater eruption to punish the Sinagua Indians in retaliation for a prank played out of jealousy. In real life, the eruption ushered in an era of prosperity — demonstrating the complex relationship between climate, culture and geography. Both Sunset Crater and the Wupatki ruins rise out of the landscape around the area of the San Francisco Peaks, out of place but curiously perfect.

Wednesday, April 11

Paris and France

France is the largest country in the European Union and covers from the North Sea down to the Mediterranean. It features high mountains — including Mont Blanc, which is Western Europe’s highest point — and the lowlands with rivers, farms and villages and towns. It has a representative government with the President as its head. The capital city is Paris. France has an advanced industrial economy and a robust farm sector. Main activities include automobile manufacture, aerospace, information technology, electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and fashion.

Hiking the Barnhardt Trail — you can never see everything it offers

Stepping out of my Jeep, at the parking area at the beginning of the Barnhardt trailhead, I shield my eyes from the bright morning sunlight five miles up a rutted dirt road, leading up from Highway 87. Cactus and stands of juniper crowd together on the mesa, jockeying for space in the rocky soil beneath a hazy, blue sky. My companions, all members of the Payson Packers, have been here before, but we keep coming back because we know this four-mile trail never disappoints.

Whooping cough makes an unwelcome return

The doctor said the cough would go away. He put him on antibiotics, but he said they wouldn’t shorten the cough. Why did he give them to him? Isn’t whooping cough a thing of the past, and wasn’t it a children’s disease?

1940 Census

On April 2 the 1940 census was released to the public after a mandatory 72-year waiting period. Censuses are a treasure trove of information for historians and genealogists. Not only are people’s names recorded, but a number of other questions are asked and answered, including place of birth and occupation. The 1940 census also asked people where they were five years before; a timely question given the migration that occurred during the 1930s due to the Great Depression. Plenty of other information was collected which sheds further light on the lives of Americans in 1940.

More than 20 artists to participate in open studio tour

The doors to the inner sanctums of Rim Country artists will be opened to residents and visitors the weekend of May 4, 5 and 6. That is the weekend of the annual Payson Art League ’Neath the Rim Open Studio Tour. The studios will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and maps to the sites we be mailed in the brochure PAL is printing for the event. These will also be available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and at the libraries in Payson and Pine. The weekend of the tour, there will be directional signs posted as well.

Fort Verde State Historic Park to honor veterans

Fort Verde State Historic Park will hold its annual “History of the Soldier” event April 14-15 in Camp Verde. The event offers visitors a living history timeline of military and civilian encampments up to the present day. Through “Living History” interpretations, all military eras will be honored for the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of military men and women in the Armed Forces. Activities will include flag raising ceremonies, living history presentations and special memorial services as well as the drill calls, colors and retreat all performed as part of the event.

Getaway Around Rim Country

Mount Cross Lutheran Church is holding an auction to raise funds for a new building and its after-school program. The event will be Saturday, April 14.

Artfully decorated pots hold clue to vital mystery

Archaeologists delight Payson audience with visually enchanting clues to the rise and fall of civilizations

A world of triumph, tragedy and surprising complexity can be assembled from the puzzle of shattered pots bearing images of lighting bolts, demons, dancers and mysterious symbols, Allen Dart told the rapt members of the Rim Country Archaeology Society at a recent meeting. He offered a glimpse of 2,000 years of innovation, economic evolution, invasion, religious turmoil, triumph and disaster through the brilliantly crafted, creatively unique pottery styles developed by the Hohokam civilization.

Good 2 Go

Attention adult women. Did you ever want to learn how to shoot skeet, or paddle a canoe? Would you like to learn how to present a fly to rising trout? Maybe you would like to try archery or Dutch oven cooking. Do you have a fear of heights? Sign up for the rappelling class and conquer it! The April 2012 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop is now accepting registrations.

Easy, memorable spring recipes

Spring is here and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate — Easter has just passed, but Mother’s Day is a little more than a month away; graduations are coming up; with June come weddings, so in advance of that, there will be bridal showers and more. Each celebration creates its own special memories.

Tuesday, April 10

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Designer drug ban targets Payson stores

Spice will remain legal to use and possess — but not to sell in town

Three local businesses that continue to sell synthetic drugs despite weeks of community protests will have to remove the products from their shelves on Sunday when a Payson ordinance takes effect. The law bans the sale of “intentionally misused” products by retailers, but does not make it illegal to possess or use the products. Police Chief Don Engler praised the council for taking quick action to ban the sale of the products, which state legislators have struggled to ban altogether. On Monday, Payson officers will visit each store to make sure the products, commonly known as “spice” and “potpourri,” are gone, Engler said. The ban covers all products labeled “not for human consumption” at the One Stop, Wear This and Payson Marketplace. The police department is sending letters to each business this week notifying owners of the change. So far, none of the owners have reacted to the news while community response has “been overwhelmingly supportive,” Engler said.

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Business doubles as speakeasy

During the day, Mogollon Stone functioned like any other Rim Country business, but after hours that façade was replaced with something a little more fun and illegal, say Payson Police. The stone business, at 401 N. Tyler Parkway, was allegedly the location for parties that attracted dozens of people willing to pay a cover and purchase alcohol for a little rockin’ fun.

Two fires pose dual mystery

Firefighters keep blazes near Tonto Creek camp contained, despite rising fire danger

Two brush fires in the same spot just hours apart this weekend have raised the suspicions of investigators. Officials believe children may have set the first fire, which started around 11 a.m. Sunday near the Tonto Creek Campground by the Horton Creek trailhead east of Payson. However, police don’t know how a second fire at 3:45 p.m. started in the same location, since arriving crews found no one in the area. Firefighters held that blaze to three-quarters of an acre.

CPS takes child after drug bust

A routine speeding stop Friday led officials to take a couple’s 2-year-old child away after discovering drugs in a vehicle and home, according to police. Early Friday morning, Gila County Sheriff’s Deputy Leonard Kerszykowski stopped a vehicle on Highway 87 for speeding. Kerszykowski found Payson residents Kylee Kathleen Maksymowski and Jerry Michael Morris in the vehicle, with their 2-year-old daughter in the back seat.

Children’s services suffer deep cutbacks

Some 3,000 Gila County children have pliable little brains. Don’t be alarmed: They’re under 5, their brains are supposed to be growing. But that means nutrition, stimulus, bright colors, intimate relationships, quality of day care and a host of other factors will shape the brains of infants — with long-term consequences for society. In fact, research suggests that $1 invested in early childhood services yields $4 to $16 in later savings on special education, welfare and juvenile justice costs.

Man exits smoldering car, watches it roll into deep ravine

As the temperatures heat up, so are the roadways — with at least two vehicle fires in the Rim Country last week. On Thursday and Friday, two motorists had to bail after their vehicles started smoking, one driver just making it out before his vehicle went into a ravine.

They did it again!

The Longhorn softballers smashed archrival Show Low 7-1 last night on a storybook run for the playoffs — and the first chance in years at a state championship. Pitcher Arianna “Ace” Paulson had another stellar game, striking out 17 of the 21 batters who faced her. Paulson also hit three singles, scored twice and batted in three runs, retaining her standing as the most reliable hitter on what has turned into a Dream Team for Payson.

Level 2 sex offender moves back to Payson neighborhood

Sexual offender Tylor Joseph Wilson, 19, notified police recently that he is living on Aero Street in Payson, having moved into town from Tonto Basin.

Spotted fever plagues southern Gila County

Surge in tick-borne illness spreads alarm

Gila County has reported an outbreak of potentially fatal spotted fever, with eight cases already reported in southern Gila County. So far, no cases have been reported in northern Gila County, according to Gila County Health and Emergency Services Director Michael O’Driscoll. Last year, the bacteria spread by ticks caused 54 cases of the flu-like disease which led to 11 deaths in three northern Arizona counties, including Gila County. Arizona cases of the tick-borne disease have risen steadily for the past decade, but spiked alarmingly last year. Officials say warming temperatures in April could cause a surge of cases through September, when ticks again become less active as temperatures drop. Health officials urge residents to get tick collars for dogs and inspect both themselves and their pets after outdoor activities.

Community Almanac

Wednesday, April 11 is the last day to register a team for the Adult Spring ASA Co-ed Softball program offered through the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. Participants must be at least 16 and the cost is $300 per team, or $275 with proof of ASA registration. Team rosters are limited to 14 people. And teams must be registered with ASA prior to start of play.

Further PSWID drilling should wait for master plan

For many years Pine was dependent on Strawberry for water.

We have option to vote ourselves out of selfishness

I found Mr. Wallen’s erudite letter to the editor very informative and I agree with his conclusions that we are moving toward and may even be in bondage.

Democratic communism?

Speaking of American socialism, guess which candidate the Communist Party USA wholeheartedly endorsed in the last election?

Growing families together

It used to be that children on school breaks and in the summer said, I am so bored!

Republican rebuttals are name-calling and illogical

The recent letters to the editor vastly illustrate the difference between the two political parties.

Obama insults High Court

Who does Obama think he is when he warns the Supreme Court not to dump his Obamacare health law?

Arizona tosses its children overboard

Things have changed quite a bit since the Titanic went down. Back then, the men loading the lifeboats on the listing deck of the ship cried: “Women and children first.” These days, when the Arizona Legislature hollers: “Women and children first,” they’re generally heaving overboard a program intended to help children. The Payson Town Council last week declared April 22-28 the “Week of the Young Child,” as a way to support groups like First Things First, which uses a voter-approved tobacco tax to provide early childhood services. That’s nice. Touching even.

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D-Day veteran honored for service

On April 1, longtime Payson resident and World War II veteran, Floyd Landers, 94, gathered with family and friends around the fireplace at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino’s “Fireside Room” to put the exclamation mark on an event that occurred some 68 years ago. The gathering of family and friends witnessed a presentation ceremony during which Landers, with the assistance of Senator John McCain, received the medals, ribbons and awards he earned on the beaches of Normandy during WWII. Marine Major Phil Prince presented the awards, which included the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in combat, the American Campaign Medal, the European/ African Campaign Medal (with star), the WWII Victory Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and other associated decorations and awards.

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High school students present ‘All Shook Up’

For three days, the Payson High School Musical Theatre Club will proudly present “All Shook Up,” a musical based on the book of the same title by Joe DiPietro. The story centers around Chad, played by Josh Leonard. Chad is a hip swingin’, guitar playin’, motorcycle ridin’ passionate music lover who rides into a “you never heard of it Midwestern town” only to change everyone’s life.

Education Briefs

Our Future Educators of America (FEA) students did an outstanding job at the FEA State Conference at Grand Canyon University. Sarah Davis won FEA student of the year, best in state. “The conference was absolutely fantastic! The growth we all experienced as a group preparing for our competition helped us do amazing at the conference. It was definitely worth all our time and effort,” said Davis. Ashley Anglemire and Sarah Davis won the gold student achievement award, the highest award in the state. Only four students were chosen. Each received a $500 scholarship and $2,500 per year for four years.

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Student chefs cook up awards

PHS culinary students gobble up prizes at statewide competition

The Payson High Family, Careers, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter this past weekend came home with not just medals, but some cash prizes for their culinary skills at the State Leadership Conference this year in Tucson, at the Westin La Paloma Resort. The weekend featured many fashion, child development, interior design, and culinary competitions. Payson’s culinary arts students Shoshanah Wright and Megan Ploughe entered the Chapter Service Project Display competition by describing the nutrition lessons the chapter had been involved in with the third grade classes from Julia Randall Elementary School.

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Payson council reopens debate on sign ordinance

Once more into the breech, dear friends. Last week the Payson Town Council might not have had King Henry V or Shakespeare to get them riled up: But they did vote to charge into the heart of a once-and-future controversy — its sign ordinance. Payson’s effort to impose a restrained, resort-town standard on signs several years ago spurred repeated debates and bitter complaints by local merchants.

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Disaster planning effort best in state, says county

With the chance of a major Rim Country wildfire at an all-time high this year, fire and law enforcement officials have started early to prepare for disaster. On Thursday, April 5, Supervisor Tommie Martin hosted a meeting at the county’s Star Valley yard to facilitate fire and law enforcement officials in preparing for what is shaping up to be an alarming fire season. “Some of the predictions on this year’s fire season, along with lots of early, drying fine fuels growth, has certainly gotten my attention,” said Martin. “We’ve had a series of pretty ‘calm’ fire seasons and I would hate to see us get caught completely flat-footed this year.”

Main Street thrift shops moving

The Humane Society of Central Arizona Thrift Shop is planning a move across Main Street. The shop will move directly north from its current location to 510 W. Main St., the former home of the Payson Woman’s Club. The thrift shop will hold a grand re-opening on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21.

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Local man recognized as a top financial advisor

Commonwealth Financial Network has named one of its affiliated advisors to its Winners Circle. Kevin Dick, a local, independent financial advisor and president of Kevin Dick Investment Management Group in Payson, received the honor of top advisor in March. The distinction recognizes successful financial advisors, based on a ranking of annual production among Commonwealth’s network of 1,400 financial advisors, according to a press release.

Is mortgage refinance program right for you?

Last October, President Barack Obama revealed the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP2) designed to help lower the interest rates for homeowners underwater who had diligently made their mortgage payments. The purpose of the program was to reduce homeowners’ mortgage payments, which would hopefully reduce the number of short sales and foreclosures saturating the market. As the program was laid out, the goal was to have a streamlined, low-cost, mortgage refinance program for those loans that were held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that met certain criteria.

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Save the planet and your wallet

Session focuses on tips for reducing unsustainable damage to planet

Save money. Get healthy. Save the planet. Why wait? That’s the message Arizona State University professor Nicole Darnall delivered recently to a roomful of savvy planet huggers at the Women’s Wellness Forum. The daylong event drew about 240 women to listen to speakers on an array of topics. Darnall offered a gripping presentation that started with global disaster, but ended with a reassuringly doable list of steps individuals can take to solve the seemingly overwhelming problems.

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.

Rec Roundup

Whether you’re a scout, an outdoor enthusiast or you work in a remote environment, our Wilderness and Remote First Aid course gives you the skills you need to respond to an emergency when help may be delayed. Only 4 spots left! Registration closes April 11. Participants should have basic first aid training and/or certification.

Local women honored at Soroptimist banquet

More than 40 people attended to support the club and the winners. Thomas was recognized with the Ruby Award, which is given to women who have spent many years working to improve the lives of women, either as an employee or volunteer. Thomas has served through both. The Violet Richardson Award is given to a teen girl, between the ages of 14 and 17, who has demonstrated an understanding and compassion of people. Silva was selected due to her work with New Beginnings to receive this award.

WON season winding down

Payson duo second in point standings

The angling team of Ken Howden and Gary Understiller, both of Mesa, continue to cling to first place in the Western Outdoor News Arizona Circuit tournament standings. The pair’s huge point lead of 583 to 465 for the runner-up team of Keith Hunsinger and Robert O’Donnell of Payson is mainly because the leaders are the only team who has entered all five WON tournament since they began Oct. 22, 2011 at Roosevelt Lake. Hunsinger and O’Donnell have fished four tournaments, as has the third-place team of John Sneed and Jerry Kirkpatrick.

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Horns finish 3-1 at weekend Estrella tourney

Host team eliminates Payson in semi-final

Payson came away from this weekend’s Estrella Tournament with a 3-1 overall record, losing to host Estrella Foothills 9-8 in the semi-final game of the tournament at Goodyear Stadium on Saturday. Coach Scott Novack filed this report: In the first game, Holbrook led 5-2 until the bottom of the sixth when Payson scored seven runs. Chance Randall doubled and Dylan Richardson drove him in with a single. After two walks, Miguel Mendoza singled in two; Dailey Carnes also singled two runs in. Cale Novack singled and Randall drove in two more; then Nick McMullen tripled to empty the bases. When all was said and done, the score was 10-5 in Payson’s favor.

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Lady Horns chalk up another decisive victory

The Payson High School Lady Longhorns softball team continues to stampede over opponents. The girls handed Mogollon a 21-0 win when the two teams met Thursday, April 5. The Lady Horns had 14 hits to make those 21 points. Payson’s best inning was the second, where the girls scored 7 runs; followed by 5 in the fifth; 4 in both the first and third innings; and 1 in the fourth.

Golfers wanted for food bank benefit

It is that time of year again when the food bank extends its hand for help. In the past, money from St. Vincent de Paul’s annual golf tournament has helped build a new facility. Today, with demand up, money is needed more than ever to supplement food donations. This year marks the 11th year for the golf tournament and planners hope a record number will sign up to tee off. Tournament organizer Mary Wolf said the April 28 event is the largest fund-raising event for the Rim Country Food Bank. “All funds go to the food bank to buy food and pay utilities and household supplies (for those in need),” Wolf said. Last year’s event brought in roughly $8,000.

Off-season volleyball schedule set

Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink has compiled an ambitious off-season program that includes camps, tournament, fund-raising, tryouts and an alumni game. The coach is urging all aspiring players to take advantage of the offerings in order to improve their skills for next season.

Friday, April 6

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Hiking happiness not happenstance

After a week at the computer, I slumped into Saturday morning. If I let my inertia get a hold of me, I can wallow a whole weekend away sleeping, eating, napping and sitting some more in front of the computer screen. Then comes Monday and I start it all over again. Humans were not designed to sit all day and have surely not adapted to cubicle-based lifestyles. Experts agree that too much sitting spawns a sour mood.

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Arizona Trail brings visitors, recognition to community

Greetings on this beautiful Easter weekend. Do you have any fond childhood Easter memories? I remember coloring eggs, baskets with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, a church service with beautiful music and corsages for the girls (that looked nice on my pretty new Easter dress), and then a traditional big family dinner with ham, potato salad and deviled eggs. It is a special weekend here in Pine and Strawberry as the churches hold inspirational services this Sunday to celebrate the resurrection and the hope that this occasion signifies.

Easter Services

“Let us shout with joy that our Lord Jesus Christ lives, Alleluia!” Come and celebrate the most important day in the Christian year and the most important day in the life of a Christian, come and celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. The Church of the Holy Nativity in the Anglican Catholic Tradition will have the following services to welcome in Easter. • Good Friday, April 6, noon to 3 p.m. - The church will be open for private devotions and for the Sacrament of Reconciliation; 2 p.m. - Stations of the Cross.

Clubs and Organizations

The monthly Men’s “Breakfast for a Buck” will be at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 7 at Ponderosa Bible Church, 1800 N. Beeline Highway, Payson. Youth Pastor Curtis Fahrlender will bring a challenging message about “Leaving a Godly Legacy.”  There will also be a yummy breakfast for just $1. 

Community Almanac

The Time Out Thrift Shop is having a Customer Appreciation Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., First Friday, April 6.  Everything in the shop and on the sidewalk will be 50 percent off and all regular clothing will be only $1 a bag. The shop is located at 500 S. Beeline Highway and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Volunteers needed to work as campground hosts

Fire weather watch was issued by the National Weather Service Wednesday morning due to low relative humidity and strong winds. Our outlook is for Friday reaching highs in the mid-60s with lows in the upper-20s. A warm-up will follow through the weekend with highs Sunday reaching into the mid-70s and lows in the low-40s. No precipitation is in the forecast. The Rim Lakes Forest Restoration Project, first titled the Rim Lakes Forest Health Project, was sent out with an opportunity for public comment in late 2007. In September of 2011, a Legal Notice was published announcing the availability of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for review and a 30-day objection period.

Two big events coming Saturday to CC community

Hello again, fellow Creekers. The Christopher Creek Homeowners Association is sponsoring two big events this Saturday, April 7. The first event is a celebration of Earth Day beginning at 11 a.m. in front of the Tall Pines Market. This event is for kids ages 10 and older. Help to make the Earth a little bit more beautiful by picking up the trash along the Christopher Creek Loop. Bags will be provided to collect the trash. All aluminum cans will be donated to the Humane Society of Central Arizona (in Payson) to help care for animals. The Christopher Creek Lodge will match in an additional donation the amount of money the kids are able to collect in cans for the Humane Society. Adults are welcome and needed to walk along with and help supervise. What a great way to celebrate earth day: help clean up the beautiful earth, help animals and get some good exercise.

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Beware of wildlife that shares our forest

The Snyder clan increased by one this past weekend with the addition of a new granddaughter-in-law. Sarah Richardson of Mesa, Ariz. became the bride of our grandson Brian. The wedding took place at the Fiesta Fountains in Mesa. The place is extraordinary! There were three weddings taking place basically at the same time. The facility is extremely well organized and decorated for each individual wedding. Brian and Sarah’s wedding was a tear jerker, but then aren’t all weddings? Congratulations to the newlyweds.

SB 1083 important for Arizonans’ welfare

The federal government is not doing its job in securing the border. Criminal aliens and drug cartels/gangs south of our border have turned Arizona into the gateway for drug shipping into the U.S. Fifty percent of the pot that comes into the U.S. comes through Arizona and, more recently, heroin smuggling has increased as Mexican drug growers expand their cultivation of poppy fields to make Mexico the No. 2 heroin producer in the world, second only to Afghanistan. If you don’t believe me, ask Tempe residents about the December 2011 raid that resulted in the arrest of 203 members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which owns the Mexico/Arizona drug smuggling routes. Or how about the March 3 shooting in a club near Arizona State University in Tempe which left 16 people wounded? The shooting has been tied to rival gangs, traditionally the street distributors of the illegal drugs that come across our borders. Meanwhile, terrorists mingle with all these criminal elements and quietly slip across the border. Some have been captured and arrested, but many have not.

The best scared — The town square

For some reason, this job reminds me of running Crystal Rapids. Crystal is the worst, best rapid in the Grand Canyon and our boatman had been telling us what amounts to campfire ghost stories about this wild series of deep holes crashing into a frothing boulder field for the past 100 miles. Just as we got close enough to hear the ravening roar of the water, the thunderheads that had been gathering themselves for a nervous breakdown since morning unleashed a frenzy of hail punctuated by terrible crashes of lightning. Flinching from the hail and the lightning and staring down into that chaos of water was the best scared I’ve ever been. Well, except maybe the last couple weeks.

Early IRA funding can pay off over time

You’ve got until April 17 to contribute to your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for the 2011 tax year. That’s not a lot of time, but if you have some money available, and you haven’t completely funded your IRA for 2011, consider doing so before the deadline. And once you’ve “maxed out” on your IRA for last year, why not get a jump on 2012? Actually, you could have started contributing to your 2012 IRA as early as Jan. 2.

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Triangle Academy expands with new classes, location

With the closing of the area’s largest fitness club last month, hundreds of gym-goers were left scrambling for a place to continue their fitness classes. Luckily, the owners of Triangle Academy Training and Fitness Center were one step ahead. Having outgrown their space on Main Street months ago, the group was looking for a new place to expand. They knew they would have to move quickly if they wanted to capture members from the now-defunct Payson Athletic Club. So a few weeks ago, the Triangle Academy reopened at the former location of the East West Exchange Bookstore off West Longhorn, just northeast of Payson High School.

Rec Roundup

It’s time to dust off the bats and gloves. Co-ed Softball registration closes April 16. We must have 6 teams in order to have a league. Games will be played weeknights only. Cost is $300 and includes your ASA registration fee.

PMGA hosts ABCD team tourney

The Payson Men’s Golf Association foursome of Jim Dalgleish, Popeye Clay, Ed Flores and Don Shepard swung to a first-place finish in an “ABCD, Best Three Scores per Hole” formatted tournament played March 28 at Payson Golf Course. Shepard was on the winning foursome that on March 20 won the PMGA’s first tournament of the 2012 season. The winning foursome carded a 177 to outdistance the second-place team of Mike McKee, Ed McFall, Bill Mullins and Jack Protio that finished at 187.

Outstanding superintendent knows value of school athletics

Truly outstanding school district superintendents make genuine and concerted efforts to support sports and athletics because they know much is to be gained from participation, and formal schooling is only a part of a well-rounded education. Exemplary superintendents also recognize that athletics creates academic motivation partly because most schools require a certain grade point average to participate in high school sports. High school athletics demand a higher standard of behavior, punishing improper behavior by limiting or halting participation for those not meeting team and school standards.

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Tracksters prep for state at Red Rock

The Red Rock Invitational offered Payson High track team members the opportunity to test their skills against many of the very same opponents they will meet in the Division III state tournament when it is held May 11 and 12 at Mesa College. Which means the local athletes returned to PHS from the March 31 meet knowing exactly what they must do in order to earn a state medal. Jaymi Carlen is among those who showed at Red Rock she could contend for state honors in several events. In the triple jump, Carlen went 31 feet, 11 inches to finish second behind Sedona’s Nyomi Mosley who jumped 33 feet. Carlen was also third in the long jump with a leap of 14 feet, 6 inches. The event winner, Nyomi Mosley of Sedona soared 15 feet, 7 1/2 inches.

Lady Horn ace tosses no-hitter

When the rhythm and blues vocal group The Whispers recorded the song “Just Gets Better with Time,” they could have been referring to Lady Longhorn pitcher Arianna Paulson. It’s apparent she is getting better with time as evidenced by her 17 strikeouts in the Lady Horns’ March 29 win over Mingus that was followed up April 3 with a no-hit performance against Mogollon. Showing great control and command, Paulson threw 41 strikes in 55 pitches over the course of 4 2/3 innings. The game ended early on the 10-run mercy rule.

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EA beckons net star

A Lady Longhorn four-year letter winner in volleyball has inked an athletic scholarship offer to play next season for the Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters. Katelyn Curtis made the decision last week to play next year at EA — a school several of her family members previously attended. “She is very happy to play there,” said volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink. “She is attracted to the high morals and standards that seem to prevail there.”

Hospital seeks help to pick top nurses

Payson Regional Medical Center is once again seeking to honor one of its nurses through its annual Patient Choice Award program. This award recognizes the level of quality care, comfort and compassion offered by nurses each day. The hospital wants the community to nominate nurses for the Patient Choice Award at PRMC during Nurses’ Week, May 6-12. PRMC hopes former patients and family members will spotlight an exceptional nurse.

Fun day — serious problem

The Community Prevention Council hopes to promote better communication between parents and their children at the Fool’s Day Fun event April 7 at the gym of Julia Randall Elementary School. The Community Prevention Council presents the event in cooperation with Southwest Behavioral Health, the Payson Police Department and a number of local organizations.

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Helping the needy one bowl at a time

Area churches ban together to ladle out free meals

Every day, more than two-thirds of area children receive free meals at school. For many, it is their best serving of food for the day and for some, their only meal. With many families struggling to survive in the wake of the recession and a growing population of homeless students, a group of churches, some with very different backgrounds, decided to do something. A bowl of soup: It sounded simple, but organizers knew it could have a huge impact.

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It's the Bomb!

Art students add color to community college garden

From thrift store bargain bins to art centerpieces, bushels of afghans got a colorful burst of new life Monday in Gila Community College’s garden. Students in Elissa Hugens-Aleshire’s folk art class added a bit of whimsy and temporary color to the hibernating trees and rock streambeds by cloaking them in knitted garb. Practitioners of “grandma graffiti” or “yarn bombing,” the budding folk artists said they were happy to turn the Ed Lydic Demonstration Garden into a strange new art form. “Someone put a lot of effort into making these,” said student Juliet Wing as she wound a mossy green and carroty orange afghan around a boulder that she had covered in a larger multicolored blanket. “Someone may walk by the garden and recognize that they made something similar years ago.”

Safety Tips for Spring

Spring is here! With the change of the season, our thoughts turn to Easter celebrations, spring cleaning, outdoor activities and maybe even some home improvement projects. Before you begin your seasonal chores or outdoor activities, take inventory of potential hazards for your furry friends. Easter treats and decorations Keep Easter lilies and candy bunnies in check — chocolate goodies are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets. Lilies can be fatal if ingested. Also, be mindful that kitties love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, and potentially cause severe vomiting and dehydration.

‘Easter Parade’ a hit for many artists

I’ll bet many of our readers have no trouble singing the melody of that old tune. It was in 1933, near the beginning of the big band era, that renowned songwriter Irvin Berlin penned the above lyrics for bandleader Leo Reisman. Reisman’s song, “Easter Parade,” with the vocal by Clifton Webb, became a hit that year after the song appeared in the Broadway musical “As Thousands Cheer.” In the late 1930s and ’40s, Berlin’s song “Easter Parade” also became a cover sensation for a number of other artists, including Guy Lombardo, Harry James and Bing Crosby — just to name a few. To this day, “Easter Parade” remains a favorite sing-along song for both children and adults.

Allen’s bill won’t have adequate funding

I wish to thank the Payson Roundup for this opportunity to respond to Senator Sylvia Allen’s guest column on her sponsored legislation, SB 1083, to create the Arizona Special Missions Unit (SMU). First, let us review what the bill would do. It appropriates $1.4 million each year from the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) fund. It establishes a “commander” of the unit to be appointed by the governor. It raises a force of about 300 volunteers. It compensates volunteers for five days of initial training, five annual days of training and one day per month of drill exercises.

Some houses live in our memory forever, Part 1

No matter how many houses we live in, there are always a couple or three of them we just can’t forget. The reason is plain enough, I suppose. When we think of them it’s not as “the house in Karachi,” or “the house on Okinawa.” It’s “our house in Karachi,” or “our little place on Okinawa.” It’s the “our” that counts. I’ve lived in a lot of houses, but I had no idea how many until I sat down to count them. I made a rough guess and decided it was perhaps two dozen, so when I came up with a total of 39 I thought I had made a mistake. And I was right! About being wrong, I mean. 

Healthy forest initiative wrong

Am I the only one who thinks the “healthy” forest initiative is ugly and wrong?

Fishing Festival was great

I want to thank the Rim Country Optimist Club for hosting the Kids Fishing Festival at Payson’s Green Valley Park on March 31.

Generosity toward library vital

On Saturday, March 3, the Friends of the Payson Library held its annual fund-raiser, the Taste of Rim, in the library.

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Principal quits

Kathe Ketchem resigns

On July 1, an era will end: After 41 years in education, Payson High School Principal Kathe Ketchem will retire. Family is her primary reason for retiring, said her husband John. She will not be alone in her retirement, director of Career Technical Education Wendell Stevens, guidance counselor Judy Michel, and Payson Center for Success math teacher Dan Alm will all retire at the end of the year. The flurry of retirements touched off rumors among the faculty that the district may move to a fresh round of layoffs, in anticipation of added state budget cuts and the impact of declining enrollment.

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Pitcher Perfect

Lady Longhorn softball team toppling records with shot at state title

A combination of great pitching, stellar defense, standout hitting and a bit of luck is propelling the Lady Longhorn softball team to its finest season ever and perhaps a shot at the school’s first state fast-pitch championship. Give credit to fire-balling pitcher Arianna Paulson, inspiring defense by third baseman Devann Runzo and hitting by the entire lineup, including school home run record holder Taylor Petersen.

Rehire of retiree riles critic

Sheriff’s official will get a $4,000 monthly contract on top of $3,000 monthly retirement payment

The Gila County Board of Supervisors’ approval of a “double-dip” employment contract for a top sheriff’s department administrator has raised questions and highlighted concerns about the state’s retirement system. The supervisors approved a month-to-month contract with Claudia DalMolin, which will save the county money even as it increases her monthly income by 50 percent. Under the terms of the contract, the sheriff’s department will pay DalMolin $4,000 a month on top of her roughly $3,000 per month in retirement benefits.

Star Valley doesn’t need Blue Ridge, says water czar

Piling irony on top of surprise, Payson water czar Buzz Walker Tuesday told the Star Valley Town Council it probably doesn’t need water from the Blue Ridge pipeline, even though it meant Payson would lose a cost-sharing partner. Walker, Payson’s water superintendent, said contracting with the Salt River Project for Blue Ridge water would likely cost too much for the town of 2,300, which has plenty of water of its own. Walker said studies have shown Star Valley has enough groundwater to sustain an additional 5,700 residents, well beyond the town’s growth projections. “I just don’t think you would ever need it,” he said.

Clean Team strikes again

Volunteers rally to help rangers cope with damage done by careless visitors

With half a million acres to tidy up, the Payson Ranger District needs a little help. Fortunately, a growing cadre of Rim Country volunteers has responded to Forest Service pleas for volunteers to help mend trails and haul out trash. This weekend, the Clean Team will strike again to help rangers repair trails and repair the damage done by careless visitors. “We don’t want this to just be about trash clean up,” said Payson Ranger District Head Ranger Angie Elam. “We want to make it meaningful for volunteers.”

Missing woman found dead near Sunflower, ruled suicide

Police have confirmed a family’s worst fears. The body of a Valley woman missing since January was found earlier this week in the Sunflower area south of Payson, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

We are at a threshold between dependence and bondage

While reading Don Castleman’s recent letter in Mail Call regarding the beliefs of the Democratic Party, I was reminded of the following treatise said to be written by Dr. Alexander Fraser Tyler, who was a Scottish philosopher in the 17th century, about the time the United States was aborning.

Only one political option?

What if Arizonans had only one place to buy vehicles, groceries, clothes, send their kids to school, purchase insurance, secure financial services, or even only one channel of television to watch?

Appreciate showing both sides

I’m sure we all have wondered why politicians spend millions of campaign dollars to get a job that pays a fraction of that and why you never see any poor or average income retired politicians.

Wednesday, April 4

Good 2 Go

The High Country Garden Club meets at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 5 for an informative program focusing on herbs. Leilah Breitner of Herb Stop will discuss herb gardens, growing herbs in containers, and the many health benefits derived from herb use.

American Tenors close out current TCCA season

The 2011-2012 season of the Tonto Community Concert Association will close April 19 with a performance by The American Tenors. The American Tenors are PBS favorites and Sony Recording Artists. They will perform their crowd-pleasing multi-genre program at the Payson High School Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The Payson High School Hike and Ski Club is sponsoring a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale to assist in raising funds for students to visit Japan this coming summer. To place an order, please contact Anna VanZile at anna.vanzile@pusd.com. The cost is $10 per dozen. Doughnuts will be available for pick-up in front of Safeway from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, April 6. A limited number of extra donuts will also be available to purchase Friday, April 6 for those who did not place an order.

Italian wonders

When I talk to people about travel and ask them where they want to go they often respond with “Italy”. Italy has almost everything you might want in a European destination - history, beauty, culture, fine food and ease of travel. The public transportation system in major cities works well and trains operate quickly between cities. Air service between the U.S. and Italy is good and frequent and the country is easy to include in a multi-country European visit. You can enjoy fine hotels almost everywhere.

Celebrate Easter as a community

The residents of the Payson community have had the opportunity to celebrate the Easter holiday together for several years at the Resurrection Celebration. Residents with youngsters in their families have also enjoyed the big community Easter egg hunt, called the Eggstravaganza. Both events, as well as the Pine and Strawberry community egg hunt will be Saturday, April 7. Below are details, plus a reminder of the special display of crosses at the Community Presbyterian Church and a listing of the church services planned for Holy Week.

An elegant Easter feast

Bring ease and elegance to your Easter feast with a classic roast ham served up with a sweet twist. Thyme-Basted Ham with Roasted Grapes is a sophisticated centerpiece that pairs deliciously with inspired brunch ideas. For time-strapped cooks, this refined recipe is a breeze to create - all that’s left to do after purchasing the ham is to prepare a quick grape jelly glaze and finish heating the ham in the oven. Sumptuous sides celebrating the flavors of the season make it a meal. Ham and Peas with Mint and Tarragon, and savory Ham, Bacon, and Caramelized Onion Tart require less than 20 minutes of prep time in the kitchen, elevating taste and simplicity for an effortlessly elegant Easter brunch.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 16: The Mysterious Demise of Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts

A red sandstone monument stands overlooking Roosevelt Lake beside State Highway 188. Traveling southeast in Tonto Basin, this can be seen just before reaching the bridge near Roosevelt Dam. Upon close examination the travelers can see the rough marker announces that near this spot the Army’s famous Chief of Scouts Al Sieber was crushed to death by an immense boulder.

The Big Tear

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” -unknown So goes the age-old riddle.  I have a better one - When a gigantic, extra-larger-than-life curtain tears from top to bottom and people are within hearing range to listen, do they hear it tear?  The answer to this mystery question is crystal clear.  “Yes” would be the most logical response. How could someone NOT hear a jumbo cloth tear?  Right?  Unless of course a person happened to be deaf; if that were the case, they would sense the vibration of the curtain tear with their body, not to mention noticing the earth that trembled due to the earthquake, and the massive rocks that were split into pieces. 

Annual PAL studio tour has something for every taste

Given entrance into an artist’s studio is close to gaining entry into their deepest of hearts, because a studio is where they create. And any creative endeavor is rooted in the artist’s heart-felt passion. More than 20 artists from throughout the Rim Country will give the area’s residents and visitors entry into their special places of creativity during the annual Payson Art League ’Neath the Rim Studio Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 4, 5 and 6.

Tuesday, April 3

Critic of Pine-Strawberry water district distorts facts

I’m writing to finish my response to criticisms of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District in your letters section on March 20. As I pointed out on Friday, most of Mr. Schwalm’s points were incorrect or misleading. So here I offer a point-by-point response.

Democratic discourse?

It is really a joke to read the editorial pages these days.

Religious freedom not exclusive to employers

I want to know: why is it only employers have religious freedom?

Democrats debunking themselves

I am writing to express my appreciation to the Payson Roundup for giving equal space to Democrats to express their political beliefs in opposition to those mean ol’ Republicans.

Democrats spin lies

What a target-rich environment of Democrat spin in Friday’s paper.

County attorney defends domestic violence record

In response to Mr. Aleshire’s March 27 article that indicated the Payson Police Department is doing its job in arresting people but “the large problem remain[s] in seeming reluctance of Gila County prosecutors to file the cases submitted by police, resulting in officers returning to the same address over and over again ....” We agree that the Payson Police Department is working hard to combat all crimes occurring in Payson and particularly domestic violence (DV) offenses. The comment directed at prosecutors is, however, inaccurate and there is no “reluctance” to file DV offenses when charges are supported by sufficient facts to result in a conviction. Our 2011 annual report indicated just shy of 300 DV cases were prosecuted by this office and we take pride in ensuring these cases are handled appropriately.

The fool in the swamp; The boy with the rope

A bright fellow with a rope tied to his belt on a hike through the swamp finds a fat fool floundering about in the quicksand. Just back from his Scout meeting where he was urged to “do a good turn daily,” the bright young man ties one end of the rope to a big cypress tree and throws the other end to the oaf in the quicksand.

Sheriff’s seat shoot-out set

Hotly contested primaries involving law enforcement veterans will set up a general election showdown

The hard-fought, intensely competitive race for Gila County sheriff revolves around a gang of controversies — including the troubled construction of a women’s jail in Globe two years overdue, increased jail overcrowding and questions of officer morale. So far, four former law enforcement officers are running for the seat, hoping to take over the top law enforcement office in the county from outgoing, longtime Sheriff John Armer.

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They’re baaack...

Trout trucks trundle into fishing season

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: By week’s end, we’re gonna have some fish in the creek sufficiently wide-eyed and innocent for me to catch. And I’ve got all my flies — wet and dry — fit to be tied and waiting in their little foam padded plastic boxes. I’ve got flies so lively they’ll make a lunker laugh. I’ve got lures so luscious they’ll make a lunker linger. I’ve even got a raccoon-approved backup plan, thanks to Tonto Creek Hatchery co-manager Bruce Denova: A pocket full of pebbles. But then, I’ve buried the lead.

Gila County unemployment rate stuck at 10.5 percent

State, national, local rate still unchanged, despite Arizona’s surge in jobs last month

We’re, so, well — normal. Gila County’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10.5 percent in February, as did the state and national rates. The rate didn’t budge statewide despite the creation of 29,000 new, non-farm jobs in February, indicating people are rejoining the labor force. The largest gains statewide showed up in leisure and hospitality (7,100), government (14,400) and professional services (5,700). Construction remained the weakest sector, losing another 900 jobs statewide.

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Climate change likely to transform Rim forests

Growing body of research predicts mix of trees in Rim Country will change dramatically in coming decades

Don’t get too attached to any of the ponderosa pines in town. Odds are, they’ll fall victim to a rapid transformation of the forests throughout northern Arizona in coming decades. That’s the conclusion emerging from a number of studies that have concluded rising average temperatures and deepening drought have already triggered a huge “migration” of tree species across the West. Payson balances on the ecological knife-edge between different ecosystems. Head south toward Rye and unbroken hillsides of pinyon and juniper dominate. Head downhill a bit farther and the scrubby trees give way to brush, which then gives way to saguaro. On the other hand, head uphill from Payson toward either Tonto Creek or Pine and towering, yellow-barked ponderosa pines quickly replace the squat junipers. Small shifts in temperature and rainfall produce those dramatic changes in the nature of the forest.

School board quickly hires superintendent

Hitchcock hopes community won’t ‘even notice a ripple’ as he takes over

Hoping to provide a seamless transition, the Payson School Board hired Ron Hitchcock as the new superintendent after a three-month search on Saturday, March 31. “I’d like for people to say that a year from now, they didn’t even notice a ripple when Casey left,” said Hitchcock, the former superintendent of the Multnomah Education Service District in Oregon. Hitchcock resigned that position in February and moved to Arizona to help care for a sick relative in Cave Creek. Back in Oregon he has also served as a council member and mayor pro-tem of Mapleton, Oregon in the early 1990s. The school board spent half the day on Saturday locked in executive session, after hosting a community forum on Friday evening with five finalists to solicit comments.

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Dr. Jass and the Heartbeats play to a packed house

Dr. Jass and the Heartbeats filled every seat in the house at the Community Presbyterian Church this Sunday with a lively program of Dixieland jazz. The leader is Payson cardiologist Dr. Claudio Zamorano on trumpet, piano and vocals. Others in the group are Mike Buskirk, trombone and vocals; Bob Tarallo on clarinet; Larry Brasen on bass and vocals; Dale Knighton on banjo, vocals and noisemakers; Gerry Reynolds on drums; and Suzanne Knighton on guitar, washboard and vocals.

Community Almanac

Gila County is in the process of consolidating several codes into one document. These codes include: Gila County Zoning Ordinance; Gila County Subdivision Regulations; Gila County Hearing Officer Guidelines; Gila County Minor Land Division Ordinance; Gila County Wastewater Ordinance; Gila County Grading and Erosion Control Manual and Gila County Outdoor Lighting Code The new code will be referred to as the Unified Development Code. Most of the time when people go to develop or change permitted land use activities, more than one code book will be required. In fact they may need six or seven for one project. Having everything placed in one code book should be a great help. Public input is needed.

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Adventure club helps students build bodies, confidence

Kenneth Nyhus clung to tiny nubs screwed into a wall — his eyes darted from outcrop to outcrop, searching for an option. “Uh … I think you’re gonna have to do a barn door on this move,” said Scott Davidson, the chaperone for this Outdoor Adventure Club excursion. Davidson runs the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) at Rim Country Middle School. Nyhus seemed to agree, allowing his right hand and leg to fall open. He then swung them rapidly into an arc to reach a hand and foot hold two feet from where he perched. Reaching the new hand and foot hold, he stuck like a glob of silly putty. Gasps of appreciation came from the middle school students sitting on the floor watching Nyhus. Quickly he executed another move by gracefully twisting a leg and then an arm to the next location.

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Payson DECA chapter wins 24 awards at state conference

Payson DECA students won 23 individual awards at the Arizona DECA State Conference held March 4-6 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix. Thirty-two Payson Chapter members competed in the conference that was attended by almost 2,000 students from 102 high schools from around the state of Arizona.

All-day kindergarten taking deposits

Payson Unified School District will offer tuition-based all-day kindergarten, Kinder-Plus, for the 2012-2013 school year. Kinder-Plus provides extra reading, library and computer lab time and guaranteed class size of no more than 20 students in addition to the regular kindergarten half-day. The tuition fee is $185 per month for 10 months.

Citizens listen to contenders

Friday’s community forum introduces educators vying for superintendent job

More than 80 people attended the Friday evening forum hosted by the Payson School Board for a chance to interact with all five candidates for superintendent. Principals Donna Haught, Will Dunman, Kathe Ketchem and Tonto Basin’s Superintendent Mary Lou Weatherly sat in the audience with teachers, parents and concerned residents to hear each candidate’s response to 10 questions asked by the community of the five superintendent hopefuls.

SV has tough questions for Payson water czar

Now that Star Valley has gone into the water business, the council on Tuesday will get some answers from Payson water czar Buzz Walker on issues that could affect the town’s long-term development. Star Valley will take over the local water company in May from Brooke Utilities, which will make the town legally entitled to a share of water from the Blue Ridge pipeline.

AARP seeks State Andrus Award nominees

Award recognizes those who make a powerful difference in their community

AARP is seeking nominations for its 2012 AARP State Andrus Award for Community Service, which honors those individuals who are sharing their experience, talent and skills to enrich the lives of their community members.  “AARP encourages people to nominate someone they know because they are making a difference in their community,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director. “Many older Americans volunteer because they have a desire to help others. The Andrus Award is a great way to recognize someone for their efforts.”

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Shred-a-thon April 13

April is here, one of the loveliest months of the year. April is many things: National Humor Month (who doesn’t need a good laugh once in a while?) and National Poetry Month. The first week of April is Library Week; the second, Garden Week; the third, Organize Your Files Week; and the fourth, National Karaoke Week — something to sing about. Newspaper Columnists’ Day is April 18 (my favorite) and Volunteers’ Recognition Day is April 20. On April 4, 1877, the first home telephone was installed and on the 9th of April 1833, the first public library in this country opened in Petersboro, N.H.

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Payson pinyon pines face infestation

Female pinyon needle scales have already laid their eggs in the Payson area, according to the state division of forestry. This complex native insect which defoliates and kills pinyon pines has emerged in southeast Payson, the Trailwood subdivision on the west side of town, Beaver Valley Estates and Round Valley in Gila County. Due to the recent warm winter, female scales have already emerged from their over-wintering stage on the needles in these areas. Females lay noticeable clusters of yellow eggs held together in loose, white, cottony webbing mainly in branch forks, along the underside of branches, on the trunk, and at the base of the tree. The females die shortly after egg laying is completed and can be seen imbedded in the egg mass.

21 Ways to GREAT Customer Service

Some ideas for getting and keeping business

OK, OK! Yes, there certainly are more than 21 ways to GREAT customer service, but rather than overwhelm everyone, I wanted to keep it to a palatable number. Any one of these tips will produce better relations in your customer service! Here we go...

Providing networking opportunities for you

One of the principal services member businesses want their chamber to perform is to provide networking opportunities. Networking in a changing business environment needs to take on a new dimension. No longer will Walmart networking with a stack of business cards suffice. Every time the chamber brings two people together for anything, a networking opportunity is created. All business people know the importance of networking and realize it is something they must do. That is why they join service clubs, country clubs, special interest groups and other organizations.

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Business Showcase was a big success

The 20th Annual Business Showcase, “Rim Country Business: Past, Present & Future” is now part of the history books. It was unique in the addition of the “Student Showcase,” incorporating 10 student groups and organizations. Each group had to follow all of the rules of the Business Showcase, except for the registration fee. The idea was to show our students what it takes to be a business, and how tough it is to maintain our businesses in these hard times. I want to thank all the exhibitors, volunteers (adult and student), attendees and friends that worked together to make the 20th Showcase a success.

Easter Services

“Let us shout with joy that our Lord Jesus Christ lives, Alleluia!” Come and celebrate the most important day in the Christian year and the most important day in the life of a Christian, come and celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

Benefits bloom in the spring

It’s not too early to begin planning for the upcoming Lorraine Cline Memorial Fund Poker Ride and Raffle that has become one of the fastest growing and most popular benefits in the Rim Country. This year the ride is set for April 28 with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the ride starting one hour later at the O-bar-C ranch in Tonto Basin. Poker cards are available at $20 per hand and prizes will be paid for first, second and third best hands. While the benefit’s only been in existence for four years, it’s attracting droves of followers from the Rim Country, southern Gila County and the Valley.

Equestrian events begin

The 2nd Annual FFA Family Rodeo takes place on Saturday, April 14, at the Payson Event Center. There will be events for all age groups including family roping, musical hay bales, barrel racing, pole bending and many more. Prizes will be awarded to a cowboy and cowgirl in each age group. Kids under 8 years old do not have to have a horse to participate. Admission is free to spectators.

AIA agrees to change power points formula

While the Arizona Interscholastic Association is not admitting its power points formula was flawed, the executive board has changed the formula so that every team will receive points on the same number of games. Also, the board has agreed to continue to evaluate the formula to see if it needs further changes. It was Gilbert engineer John Carrieres, working in conjunction with his wife — a high school math teacher — who discovered the previous power points formula was skewed because it gave an unmerited boost to teams that played more games.

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Ex Mav wins Arizona Cup

Former Rim Country Middle School student Brady Ellison defeated Elias Malave of Venezuela in a shoot off March 24 at Ben Avery Range near Phoenix to win the men’s recurve archery gold medal at the Arizona Cup. On the extra arrow, Ellison shot a 10 to defeat Malave who shot a nine. Ellison, currently the No. 1 ranked archer in the world, is expected to contend for a gold medal at the London Olympics, even though the U.S. trials are not yet completed.

Horns rally for Wrangler gold medal

Payson High School golf coach Bret Morse doesn’t spare superlatives when describing his team’s amazing secondday rally during the Wickenburg Invitational. “The team showed discipline, poise and strong course management to chip away and finally take the lead,” he said about the Horns overcoming Valley Christian’s 15-stroke first-day lead. The fact the Horns were playing on a “very short, but narrow course layout” rendered the comeback even more impressive, said Morse The Longhorns’ rally propelled the team to a first-place finish with a team tally of 612. Valley Christian was second at 637 and Estrella Foothills took home the bronze medal at 661.

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Five-game skid ends for Longhorns in Verde Valley

Pitching and defense key in 8-3 win over CV

Just when it looked like the disheartening five-game losing streak might continue unabated, the Longhorn baseball team put an end to the skid with an 8-3 win over the Camp Verde Cowboys. Playing March 30 on the Payson High School diamond, the Horns took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, went up 7-0 in the fifth and led 8-0 in the sixth before the Cowboys rallied for three runs in their final at bat. While the victory was a huge relief for a team that has been struggling, the offense continues to ping along like a poorly tuned six-cylinder. “We are still waiting on our offense to click,” said coach Scott Novack. “We had six hits and K’d seven times, but played a very good defensive game and pitched well enough to win.”

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Lady Horns could be best ever

Paulson leads on the hill

Fans and boosters are praising the 2012 edition of the Lady Longhorn softball team as possibly the finest squad in the 25-year history of the program. Evidence to support that contention includes a 17-3 record, a second-place finish in the prestigious Buckeye Invitational and a ninth-place power points standing among 52 Division III schools. Charlene Brown, a longtime local softball aficionado and one of the founders of the fast pitch program, is among those who argue the team is indeed the best ever.