Asu’S Camp Tontozona Return Is Great News

ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici uncorks a pass during an aerial drill at Camp Tontozona. Bercovici is battling Taylor Kelley and Michael Eubanks for a starting position. Bercovici is a sophomore from Calabasas, Calif.

Photo by Max Foster. |

ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici uncorks a pass during an aerial drill at Camp Tontozona. Bercovici is battling Taylor Kelley and Michael Eubanks for a starting position. Bercovici is a sophomore from Calabasas, Calif.


Camp Tontozona will be active again. What great news! The ASU football team, the Sun Devils, will be holding practice sessions and a scrimmage this week. I can remember years ago that the highway near the camp was crammed with vehicles since parking space was at a premium. I don’t think that it has changed very much, so if you plan to watch any day this week, go early. The camp is such a beautiful place, so peaceful and green, it is great that it will again become an active place.

Most of the campgrounds in the area are now open except for the Ponderosa Campground. That one will stay closed for the rest of the season. That wandering bear has not been found yet, no one knows exactly where it is.

The rainfall has been sufficient to open the Tonto National Forest, but the rainfall has not been enough to alleviate the drought conditions. According to Bear Flat resident, Phon Sutton, the area is behind in rainfall by 7.25 inches for the year. So far the total rainfall has been 10.79 inches. Since he has been keeping records he has not seen this much of a deficit since 2002 when the rainfall was 14.40 inches behind. No one should be complacent about campfires or lighting even a cigarette in the forest. There has not been enough moisture to alleviate the danger.

Hellsgate Fire Department

Wildland crews have been sent out to help with the fire near the Grand Canyon and crews have also been sent to the Mistake Fire near Punkin Center and Picture Mountain.

Nick Fitch, Bob Evanson and John Ceja are at the Arizona Strip and the Grand Canyon fire, and Rick Heron and Bobbie Doss and two reserve wildland firefighters are at the Mistake Fire. Prayers are with the firefighters for a safe return home.

Hellsgate Fireflies

The Fireflies will be out in force this Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Bashas’ Food Festival selling T-shirts, caps, sun visors, advance tickets for the barbecue dinner that will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Tonto Village fire station, the cookbook, “Fireflies Can Cook” and raffle tickets for a chain saw and a handmade quilt. Come by the display, look for the Hellsgate Fire truck. The firefighters will be giving free blood pressure checks.

Shelby School

The Shelby School has hired a former Patriots punter as physical education coach and elementary teacher for this coming school year. Shawn McCarthy played for New England in 1991 and 1992 and still holds the record for the third longest punt in NFL history (93 yards). Since then he has worked as a golf pro, most recently at Chaparral Pines from 2001-2010. After a full day at Shelby, Shawn also serves as a quarterback and special teams coach for the Payson Longhorns. Welcome to the Village, Shawn.

Missoula Children’s Theatre has come to town to do workshops and direct a show. Two professional actors came to the Shelby School on Tuesday and led eager students in the second through ninth grades in an improvisation class, which was quite a treat. Not only that, the Shelby School has three students in the cast of “Betty Lou and the Country Beast” being presented this weekend in Payson by MCT. They are Caylinn McCarthy and Harley Lidster, both in the fourth grade and Rosa Sousa, who is in fifth grade. Congratulations girls!

This Missoula Children’s Theatre musical adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” will play this coming Friday and Saturday evenings, Aug. 17 and 18, at the Payson Longhorn Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at the door are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for students. The Shelby School is an executive producer of the show and encourages everyone to come and see this delightful performance.


Only one birthday to report this week. Joan Phippeny of Diamond Point Summer Homes and Payson, and vice president of the Fireflies, will celebrate her big day on Aug. 18. Have a wonderful day, Joan.

Double D doings

Yvonne Langley and Sharon Marksbury won the nine-ball competition held two weeks ago on Tuesday evening. Congratulations girls.

A reminder that at 2:30 p.m. Sunday horseshoe competition is held in the patio area. Give it a try.

The Labor Day weekend will be quite busy with the barbecue at the fire station, but also at the Double D. They will play host to the Modified Motorcycle Association rally. The group will be camping near the Double D and registration will also be at the restaurant. Live music will be on both Friday and Saturday evenings near the patio area.


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