Stories for July 2012

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Tuesday, July 31

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Lane closure tomorrow I-17

ADOT crews clearing debris

The left lane on northbound Interstate 17 just north of the Sunset Point Rest Area (milepost 253 to 256) will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, August 1 from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. as ADOT crews remove debris in the roadway due to heavy rain received over the weekend.

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Cell phone was key to molestation

Counselor reported 13-year-old’s alleged sexual relationship with 19-year-old boy

A Payson teen faces child molestation charges after sleeping with a 13-year-old he reportedly met in the park July 4. Investigators made their case using sexually charged messages on the girl’s cell phone after a counselor reported the girl’s fear she was pregnant.

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Christian comes home

But like a growing number of Arizonans, family now struggles with medical bills

Christian Austin, the Payson baby who went from healthy and happy to paralyzed in an hour, has returned home.

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Crash kills driver

Storm prevented medical evacuation of 88-year-old man

An 88-year-old man from southern Arizona died Sunday night when he lost control of his truck on a rain-slick highway and crashed north of Payson.

Payson teen’s death forces Ford recall

Saige Bloom tragedy prompts recall of 424,000 vehicles

After inspecting the runaway Ford Escape in which Payson teen Saige Bloom died, the Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday that it is recalling 424,000 vehicles to fix an issue with the speed control system.

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Weekend weather created havoc -- and it’s not over yet

power outages. Clouds gathered each afternoon to dump rain so dense drivers delayed getting on roads.

Community Almanac

Kaitie’s Closet is once again looking for clothing, shoes and donations for area school children. The demand is greater than ever this year, so please help us help the children here in Rim Country.

Make decisions on fact and common sense

I know you won’t print this because there is too much common sense in it, but what the hey, maybe someday something will sink in.

It’s time to pay attention to candidates

With the primary elections on the horizon it’s time to pay attention.

Tea Party president should keep personal opinions to self

I just read a letter to the editor published in the Friday, July 27 Roundup written by Jim Muhr.

Romney worse for U.S. than Bush Jr.

Bill O’Reily thinks getting rid of health care is a good way to bring health care costs down.

North can make its voice heard

Incumbent county officials who have gone for years without a challenge at the polls will have their hands full this year.

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Independents on a roll in Gila County

Registration totals show surge of Independents and Republicans gain and Democrats dwindle

Each year, Gila County gets a little more Republican and a lot more Independent, according to the latest voter registration figures. On the other hand, the number of registered Democrats continues to dwindle.

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Payson couple lives part-time in Mexico

Mexico, for all the bad press about drug violence, is still a big draw. Payson residents Louis and Kate Adams have a second home there where they live for a good part of each year. The couple made a presentation to members of the Rotary Club of Payson July 25.

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MHA program now at Curves

The Mogollon Health Alliance’s program to help with cardiac and other physical rehabilitation is now offered at the Curves facility in the Rim Country Mall.

Clubs and Organizations

The Women of the Moose meet at 6 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at the lodge. Anyone interested in community service hours may call the lodge at (928) 474-6212

Players missing doctor’s OK can’t practice

Payson High School football practices kicked of in earnest yesterday, July 29, but first-year coach Jake Swartwood wasn’t all smiles.

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NAYFL hosts tryouts, drafts

New safety helmets purchased to provide protection for kids

A full contingent of young football players, next season’s coaches and first-year Payson High head coach Jake Swartwood turned out Saturday at Rumsey Park for the Northern Arizona Young Football League Payson program’s annual tryouts and draft.

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Pikes on top in Verde Invitational

July 28 tournament marks culmination of the summer season for Pikes swimmers

Yet another chapter was added to the Payson Pikes’ rich history of athletic success when a band of local swimmers dominated the July 28 Verde Valley Invitational that drew 300 youths from around small-town Arizona.

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Dynamite explodes onto sports scene

Team members show their talents at open house

As Payson Little League president, Keeley Parker is obviously focused on the welfare of children. That’s why her praises and plaudits of Dynamite Dance and Gymnastics don’t fall on deaf ears, rather they are taken to heart by Rim Country parents.

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Horn duo in top 10 at junior masters

Apps, Kelley finish sixth and seventh in Tempe

A pair of teenage golf stars who last season led the PHS team to a state runner-up finish turned in top 10 showings in one of the state’s most prestigious summer tournaments.

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Lightning strikes home during deluge

Forecast calls for more weekend thunderstorms; TNF lifts fire restrictions

Lightning strikes during Monday night’s torrential downpour started a fire at one home and knocked an alarm system off at another, while the downpour that dumped three inches in a matter of hours in some places flooded stream crossings.

Marcanti seeks Dist. 3 county supervisor seat

John D. Marcanti wants to be the new supervisor for Gila County District 3, which now includes Canyon Day, Carrizo, Copper Basin, Globe precincts 1, 2 and 8, San Carlos, Star Valley, Young and a portion of Payson.

Mechanical failures-Milk Ranch No. 1

An overflow crowd of Pine and Strawberry water users learned this morning, Saturday, that it was mechanical failures at Milk Ranch No. 1 and the Strawberry Hollow filter building that disrupted water service from June 18 to 23.

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School Daze

New kid joins anxious throngs for first day of school

“May I help you?” speech therapist Kathleen Crane asked the pleasant-faced, curly-haired, parentish looking fellow standing uncertainly in the halls of Payson Elementary School (PES) on the first day of school.

Habitat for Humanity seeks applicants

Payson Area Habitat for Humanity is currently seeking qualified applicants for a two-bedroom resale home in Longhorn Village. This home is a one-story unit.

Lawsuit says police used excessive force

Arrest leads to injuries, lawsuit — and a grand jury indictment

A Payson man has filed a complaint against the Payson Police Department, town and three police officers claiming officers used excessive force against him late last year.

Registration deadline Monday

The last day to register to vote in the Aug. 28 primary is Monday, July 30. If you are not a registered voter, have moved or would like to change your party preference, you must do so by close of business Monday.

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Still reaching for the stars

Neil Armstrong helps launch new Rim Country telescope

Forty-three years ago last week, millions of people worldwide huddled around grainy black and white television screens and watched Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon. The moment inspired others to wonder what else was possible.

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Pine-Strawberry meeting to focus on water outage

Pine-Strawberry water users could learn what caused outages to more than 1,000 customers if they attend a 10 a.m. public meeting tomorrow, Saturday, July 28, at the Pine Community Center.

Battle continues over initiative

Legislature, secretary of state still trying to keep tax for schools off November ballot

Proponents of Proposition 204 have stirred up a hornet’s nest of opposition from the Arizona State Legislature. Both sides have now turned to the courts to clean up the mess.

Saturday, July 28

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Against the Light

Universal traveler

On July 17, thanks to John Stanton, the manager of Rim Country Chamber of Commerce, I was introduced me a young lady from Germany. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

Friday, July 27

SV not likely to repay ‘Rainy Day’ loan

The months-long debate among members of the Star Valley Town Council over its Rainy Day Fund may finally reach a conclusion at its next meeting.

Community Almanac

Kaitie’s Closet is once again looking for clothing, shoes and donations for area school children. The demand is greater than ever this year, so please help us help the children here in Rim Country.

Humane Society needs donations

built through the efforts, dedication and generosity of the many citizens, businesses, organizations and volunteers of Payson, surrounding communities, the state of Arizona and beyond.

Stubbs in running against three Democrats

Over the past several months the four candidates for Gila County sheriff, two Democrats and two Republicans, have presented their qualifications to the public.

Brush with Kindness assists low-income homeowners

I recently volunteered for the Payson Area Habitat for Humanity in support of their annual benefit golf tournament held at Chaparral Pines.

What’s Romney hiding?

With his refusal to reveal his tax returns (and the 2010 form was not complete), it leads us to wonder what he is hiding.

Disrespect for state’s voters

The farce continues. It took an Arizona Supreme Court Justice about 20 minutes to throw out Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s ridiculous attempt to prevent voters from deciding whether to extend a recently imposed one-cent sales tax hike earmarked for schools and highways.

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School board races offer tough contest

Contenders line up to challenge lone incumbent and seek two open seats

Ten people have taken out paperwork to fill seven board seats throughout school districts in Rim Country — despite the difficult financial woes of schools and agonizing decisions facing board members as budgets shrink.

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Community colleges coping with cuts

While most community colleges face flat budgets and enrollment gains, GCC suffers 10 percent enrollment drop

Question: What’s the best thing about getting beat with a stick? Answer: It feels so good when they stop.

Fire restrictions lifted on Tonto National Forest

All campfire, smoking and target shooting restrictions affecting the Tonto National Forest were lifted, effective 8 a.m., Wednesday, July 25.

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From near death to perfect peace

A dash through Sedona thunderstorms reveals the dark side of vortexes

A clap of thunder and a flash of light sent two-dozen frightened people scurrying down Cathedral Rock. A monsoonal cell had formed overhead, interrupting a peaceful, meditative hike on one of the area’s most popular picture spots. My initial, delighted awe turned quickly to terror as the lightning ripped through the sound barrier almost directly overhead.

New partnership launched to thin forests, tame fires

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Forest Service and Apache County have launched a first-of-its-kind management plan to thin more than 90,000 acres of forest in hopes of preventing catastrophic fires like last year’s record Wallow Fire.

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Gosar seeks changes to speed up forest thinning

Congressman’s bill would waive environmental laws, push grazing, logging, to reduce forest densities

Rep. Paul Gosar has introduced a bill that would streamline forest thinning projects in areas facing a high risk of wildfires, which would include much of central Arizona.

Donations needed for shelter pets

The 2012 Rescue Roundup is scheduled for Saturday, July 28. We’ll be at Wheeler Park in Flagstaff again and look forward to seeing you there! Mark your calendars for the 6th Annual Rescue Roundup! What is the Rescue Roundup?

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Wells was country music’s first queen

On July 16, 2012, at the age of 92, country singer Kitty Wells died at home in Madison, Tenn., from complications of a stroke. She certainly will be missed by all of us who appreciated her music.

A storybook lesson was well learned by players in Little League

The Payson Junior Little League baseball team’s run through the postseason was nothing short of magical. The team opened pursuit of a state berth by winning the Area 1 championship in Payson.

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Youth football draft Saturday

Adrenaline rushes, stomach butterflies and eager anticipation will be fueling aspiring young football players tomorrow, July 28, when they report to Northern Arizona Youth Football League coaches for preseason drills and the annual draft that places the athletes on the teams they will play for throughout the 2012 season.

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Alumni nip varsity in soccer shootout

The annual Lady Longhorn alumni vs. varsity soccer matches almost always turn into barnburners capped by pulsating, nail-biting finishes. In last year’s clash, with the scored dead-knotted 2-2 and the game clock winding down to the final few seconds, April Quinlan scored on a dazzling clutch goal that gave the alumni a 3-2 win over the varsity.

Clubs and Organizations

The Payson Flycasters Club will meet Saturday, July 28 at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260. Breakfast is at 8 a.m. and the meeting starts at 9 a.m.

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Author speaks to Library Friends group

I can’t think of a better way to start the day than with a friend, and that’s what happened Monday as the Friends of the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library gathered for their monthly meeting.

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Fire restrictions lifted, but let’s be careful

Hello again, fellow Creekers. We spoke with Linda at the Christopher Kohl’s Fire Department on Wednesday morning and all fire restrictions have been lifted as of Wednesday, July 25.

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Rain has been a real blessing

Have you ever gone to Young? We have been thinking of making the trip for quite a while, so we decided to make the trip this past weekend, which was a perfect time.

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Elks step up to clothe children in need

Although a Green Valley Lodge-sponsored foursome was first and a Mesa Buckhorn team took second at the Elks’ Clothe-a-Child golf tournament, the real winners were the more than 1,200 children around Arizona that will receive much-needed clothing this school year.

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PMGA hosts championships, low net tourney

While some Payson Men’s Golf Association members battled in the annual club championship, others locked horns in a series of three low net tournaments

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Plenty of events still on calendar

The summer season might be winding down, but there are still plenty of events taking place around the community.

Thursday, July 26

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Dogged Determination

Military bomb-sniffing dogs and police drug dogs share the stage at training conference in Payson

United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Keller’s armored vehicle last year ran over a roadside bomb that blasted the vehicle sideways, nearly killing Keller and her bomb-sniffing dog — Oscar.

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Payson awards contracts

Blue Ridge construction contracts come in at $1.1 million, a surprising $900,000 below estimates

In a historic milestone, Payson last week awarded three contracts totaling $1.1 million to fulfill decades of effort by starting construction on the Blue Ridge pipeline.

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Woman suffered medical nightmare

After a doctor’s own admission of faulty care, most jurors never doubted that a woman deserved compensation after enduring a medical nightmare — but they did argue over how much money to award, according to one juror.

Campaign speech triggers state bar investigation

The State Bar of Arizona is investigating whether a candidate for Gila County attorney violated protocol at a local candidate forum. At a Tea Party meeting in June, attorney Bradley Beauchamp allegedly divulged client information, possibly violating the attorney-client privilege.

Domestic violence shelter suffers deep funding cuts

Change in state formula inflicts $130,000 cut, leading Time Out to reduce staff, furlough employees

Facing an unexpected $130,000 cut in state funding, the Time Out Inc. domestic violence shelter has cut staffing levels and imposed furlough days in an all-out effort to stay in business.

Wednesday, July 25

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So long, summer

‘Celebrations’ mark end of season in Rim Country

School started this week in the Rim Country, so, to say ‘so long to summer’ there are lots of celebrations planned around the area this weekend and beyond.

A diary of an Alaska cruise

It has been a few years since our last cruise to Alaska and we decided this was the year to once again cruise the northlands. We flew to Vancouver the day before our cruise departure.

Zane Grey movie shot in Payson area

In 1918, western author Zane Grey visited the Payson area for the first time. Soon he wrote a number of books about the area. Meanwhile, silent movies were going strong in Hollywood and it was only natural that some of Grey’s books would be turned into movies.

Fuel for school

School day mornings are typically busy mornings. Getting the kids out of bed is one thing, but managing to whip up breakfast, pack lunches and get everyone out the door on time requires planning and preparation.

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Great film for little ones

For three-year-olds, “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (aka Ice Age 4) will seem new and fresh. After all, they haven’t been to many movies. The tale, as most of us know by now, is about an unlikely band of mammoths, saber tooth tigers, sloths and assorted smaller animals that are caught up in the sudden onslaught of the last ice age. 

Give summer-stressed plants some help

Don’t let summer stressors ruin your landscape’s good looks. Instead give your plants’ natural defenses a boost and keep both vegetable gardens producing and flowers blooming.

Tonto Community Concert Association subscription info

In the July 18 edition of The Rim Review, the cover story was on the upcoming season of the Tonto Community Concert Association. A critical piece of information was inadvertently left out of the story — how to get a subscription to the series.

Viruses not the only cause of hepatitis

What is the procedure for removing a tick attached to your skin? Can you remove it yourself, or should it be removed only by a physician?

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Entries, help wanted for Rodeo Parade

The 128th August Doin’s Rodeo Parade will take place Saturday, Aug. 18, beginning at 9 a.m. on Historic Main Street. The theme for the parade will be Celebrating Arizona’s Centennial.

Good 2 Go

The Rotary Club of Payson will host a program on living in Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico at noon, Wednesday, July 25. The speaker will be Louis Adams, Rotarian and owner of Adams Business Dimensions, Inc. There will be a visual presentation as well as commentary.

Getaway Around Rim Country

Parents and students, get ready for the biggest backpack giveaway ever! Payson McDonald’s restaurant, 107 E. Highway 260, will host Backpack Saturday at 8 a.m., July 28. The first 100 children who visit the restaurant will receive a free backpack.

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Fire restrictions lifted on Tonto National Forest Wed., July 25

All fireworks prohibited year-round

All campfire, smoking, and target shooting restrictions affecting the Tonto National Forest are being lifted, effective 8 a.m., Wednesday, July 25. The fire restrictions, which covered the entire

Tuesday, July 24

Supervisor candidates field rush of questions

McDaniel, Martin face overflow crowd

Candidates for seats on the Gila County Board of Supervisors appeared before a packed house at the July 19 meeting of the Payson chapter of the Tea Party.

Community Almanac

Quilting Sisters, 904 N. Beeline Highway, is collecting school items such as backpacks, paper, pencils, etc. for children in the Payson Unified School District. The collection effort continues through Friday, July 27.

Warner Brothers guilty of murder?

As a child, I sat mesmerized in front of a black and white TV, wondering how Wiley E. Coyote could defy the laws of gravity.

Time Out benefit a success

On July 21, more than 100 people attended the “Summer Sizzle” fund-raiser at Klaver Garden in Round Valley to show their support for Time Out, Inc., the local domestic violence shelter.

Help a hummy

If you have a hummingbird feeder and you notice that they swoop in, get some juice and fly over and land in a shady spot to keep cool, here is a tip: I had one that lived for seven years, I called him the “BOSS” because he ran all the other ones off.

Support for Stubbs

My name is Terry Links. I have been a Gila County resident for 15 years.

History on the installment plan

“For want of a Nail the Shoe was lost; for want of a Shoe the Horse was lost; and for want of a Horse the Rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the Enemy, all for want or care about a Horse-shoe Nail.” Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth, 1758

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Helping to bridge troubled waters

Fund-raiser and plea for volunteers at Tonto Natural Bridge seeks to bolster Rim Country’s top tourist attraction

The Friends of the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will present “A Taste at the Bridge” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4. This early evening setting will present the Tonto Natural Bridge at its finest, as well as western art by local artists, wine, light finger food, music, raffles and door prizes.

Recorder’s race highlights north-south county gap

Republican challenger to incumbent enlivens normally low-key contest

Voters in the Republican primary will have two choices in the Gila County recorder’s race, with the winner matched against the lone Democrat running in the primary in November.

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Turning survival into a crusade

Heart attack prompts man to walk across the country

A North Carolina man who has spent the last four months walking across America to raise heart health awareness made a stop in Payson this week.

Telephone scammers preying on residents

Don’t let ‘jury notice’ scam frighten you: Just hang up

More than 20 percent of the population in Payson is of retirement age, compared to a national average of 13 percent.

County helping Globe group provide low-cost housing

Officials say program could form a model for northern Gila County as well

Gila County will help a Globe group seek grant support to expand its emergency housing program.

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College board debates more tuition increases

Enrollment drops 10 percent as Gila Community College board ponders how to go about closing financial gap

Struggling to cope with declines in enrollment and state support, the Gila Community College board last week again found itself mud wrestling with a tough question: Should it raise tuition?

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.

Summer work strengthens PHS volleyball

Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink is spewing superlatives over the upcoming season’s players and the efforts they turned in during a busy summer filled with tournaments, camps, open gyms and training sessions under the direction of former professional collegiate stars.

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Coach ecstatic with team

Summer showing by volleyball players impresses Stonebrink

Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink should be excused if seen dancing the jig along Beeline.

Dream of state gold ends with loss to PV

The Payson Little League Junior All-Stars’ miracle ride through the post season ended Sunday in Prescott with a 16-4 loss to Paradise Valley. The defeat was Payson’s second in the Arizona state tournament, thus eliminating the team from further contention.

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Rim teen shines in prep rodeo finals

Pine girl earns buckles, clothes, scholarships, accolades for efforts

Pine teenage cowgirl Chelsie Stodghill, a familiar figure on the local rodeo circuit, has ridden her way to barrel racing second-place honors at the National High School Rodeo Championships.

Football camp winds down

More than 350 aspiring high school football players and their coaches descended on Payson July 16 with a goal of improving enough to make a run next season at winning records and state tournament invitations.

Friday, July 20

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Little League All-Stars lose in heartbreaker

Double elimination format keeps Juniors in contention

Only two days after pulling off the biggest upset in recent Little League history by run-ruling powerful Chandler National, the Payson Little League Junior All-Stars dropped a heartbreaking 10-7 decision to Goodyear.

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Payson Schools’ tax rate set to drop

Homeowners in the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) will pay 3 percent less on their property taxes this year to K-12 schools if the Gila County Board of Supervisors approves the estimates on Aug. 20. The changes would mean that the owner of a $100,000 home in Payson will pay to the PUSD $348.77 — an $11 decrease from this year. The bill will go down more if the assessed value of the home drops.

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Couple airlifted after rollover

An elderly couple was airlifted to the hospital on Wednesday after their vehicle rolled on Highway 87, just north of town. The couple was traveling southbound about 9:30 a.m. to Payson from their home in Strawberry when their gold Honda CR-V rolled near milepost 256, landing on its side.

Payson woman awarded $7.3 million judgment

A 53-year-old Payson woman enduring years of debilitating pain after developing an infection following knee surgery has been awarded almost $7.3 million.

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Campaign spending reports

With candidates campaigning for the upcoming primary election, some carry an early lead with donors while others need to pick up the pace, newly released finance reports show.

Barton lodges ethics complaint against senator

State lawmaker representing Rim Country claims Mesa senator threatened her in dispute about campaign signs

State Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson) Tuesday called a press conference to publicize her demand that the State Senate Ethics Committee launch an investigation into the conduct of state Sen. Rich Crandall (R-Mesa) for allegedly threatening to block her legislation.

Storm still blowing over 4FRI

Supervisor questions whether winning bidder for historic thinning project has enough investors to thin 300,000 acres

Controversy continues to dog the award of the historic Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), the best hope for thinning millions of acres of fire-prone forests surrounding Rim Country. This week Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin raised questions about whether the winning bidder actually had any investors or the money needed to fulfill the contract to thin 300,000 acres in the next 10 years.

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SV photo radar extended for a year

Star Valley will continue its photo radar enforcement program for another year. The council first signed a five-year contract to run the program with RedFlex back in 2007, with the option to extend the agreement for a year. At its July 17 meeting, the Star Valley council exercised that option.

Don’t miss Pleasant Valley Days this weekend in Young

The residents of the Young area aren’t letting the happily departed Poco Fire put a damper on their Arizona Centennial celebration of Pleasant Valley Days. Festivities start Friday, July 20 with the Pleasant Valley Fire Department dinner from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., along with a program by Cindy Shanks on the last group of sheep to walk the sheep driveway west of Young.

Community Almanac

The Arizona Democratic Party invites Rim residents to a wine and cheese reception honoring the Gila County Democratic Party to be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20 at Gila County Democratic Party Headquarters, 1101 S. Beeline Highway.

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Independence Day celebration — Part 2

Hello again, fellow Creekers. Due to an overwhelming response from the community and visitors, this is Part 2 of the 2nd Annual Christopher Creek July 4th Celebration and Independence Day Parade. It was a fun event that many came out to enjoy.

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Plenty to keep area residents connected

No matter your interests, in Pine and Strawberry there is a non-profit community group providing opportunities to participate in things you love. It’s a win-win proposition: doing what you enjoy while helping the community.

Some know very early what they want out of life

I’m 80 years old and it finally occurred to me to ask myself what I want out of life. At this moment, of course, it’s an easy question. As you may know, my beloved wife, Lolly, is very ill.

Clubs and Organizations

The Arizona Democratic Party invites Rim residents to a wine and cheese reception honoring the Gila County Democratic Party to be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20 at Gila County Democratic Party Headquarters, 1101 S. Beeline Highway.

Friends of Ferals has kittens up for adoption

Rim Country Friends of Ferals currently has kittens available for adoption.

Adoption special continues

The pets featured below are just some of the many wonderful animals currently available for adoption from the Humane Society of Central Arizona.

Roper classification system a real head-scratcher

There is expected to be plenty of rodeo rookies and newbies in the audience at the Pleasant Valley Days Ted Meredith Memorial Roping that begins today, Friday, and continues through Sunday in Young. Which means, those novices might be scratching their noggins trying to figure out the parlance of the sport that can include a number of roping groupings, draws, picks and over and unders.

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Photographer discovers jail is ‘my kind of place’

Fund-raiser for domestic violence shelters gives a prisoner’s-eye view of county’s new jail facilities

Everyone else was already on some assignment or other, so the burden of touring the Gila County Jail, fell to me. Whoo-hoo. Suck it up and do the job. We assembled in Payson, a motley assortment of reporters, photographers and people who actually paid to spend a night in jail with the money going to benefit the Time Out domestic violence shelter in Payson.

Welcome our guests

This is a regular quarterly meeting. It was my pleasure to encourage the party to meet here during the summer to share with delegates and their guests this beautiful

About PAWS and the Off-Leash Dog Park

A recent letter to the editor has cast a negative light on Payson’s PAWS in the Park group.

Very happy with dog park

My wife and I have been going to the dog park at Rumsey Park for the past five years.

Dog park friendly and safe

This letter is in response to Mr. Toth’s comments in the July 13 Payson Roundup.

Better late than never

I want to publicly thank school board member Kim Pound for recognizing the mistake of the school board’s ways in eliminating the only counselor position at the middle school earlier this year.

An election reminder

Ever helpful, I would like to remind voters that July 30 is the last day to register to vote in the primary.

Gotta love an underdog

Why do we so love the underdog? Why do we so urgently need a surprising win? Why do we care whether some team with Payson on their shirts scores an upset? Well, we’re not sure. But we know one thing: We’re absurdly gratified that the Payson Little League Junior All-Stars this week laid waste to Chandler National — the New York Yankees of Little League in Arizona.

Senate hopeful’s education plan spurs debate

State legislative forum sparks blunt exchange with school board member about budget cuts

A brief, fierce exchange about whether the Legislature has crippled public schools provided one of the liveliest moments in last week’s appearance of Republican candidates for the state legislative seats that represent Rim Country. The moment came when Payson Unified School District Board Member Barbara Shepherd challenged Rep. Chester Crandell’s plan to dramatically change the way the state funds K-12 schools.

Drum majors already drawing attention

They wear purple tie-dyed shirts with STAFF written across the back in big letters — John Buskirk, Sierra McMartin, Brett Royer and Molly Beier — the award-winning drum majors for this year’s Payson High School marching band.

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Annual rite of passage: band camp

Everywhere around Payson High School, signs of preparations for the first day of school appear. The smell of fresh-cut grass from the football field ... School buildings humming with the buzz of air conditioners ...

Little League grateful for contributions

The 10-11-year-old Payson Little League Fast-Pitch All-Stars, their manager and coach say “thank you” and give a thumbs up to those who contributed about $1,500 to help pay expenses for the team’s trip to Benson where they played in the state championship tournament.

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Ex-Olympian schools Longhorn pole vaulters

A world-class pole vaulter who once ate worm green beans and maggoty mashed potatoes on the reality TV program “Fear Factor” has shared her athletic expertise with a group of about seven Payson High School track and field team members. April Steiner Bennett did so July 17 on PHS track where Longhorn pole-vaulting coach Bo Althoff, the school record-holder, joined her in the session.

Payson Junior All-Stars shock Chandler

Defense errorless; pitcher has ‘the game of his life’

Miracles do happen in sports. Consider, Wyoming dairy farmer Rulon Gardner beat Russia’s Alexander Karelin, who hadn’t lost in 13 years, to win a 2000 Olympic gold medal in wrestling. Shock waves reverberated throughout the mainland when lightly regarded NAIA school Chaminade upset top-ranked and unbeaten Virginia 67-62 in a Hawaiian tournament.

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Meredith roping begins today in Young

Some of Gila County’s finest headers and heelers are chomping at the bit to put their cow punching skills to the test in one of the most competitive and exciting team ropings held in Arizona. It’s the Eighth Annual Ted Meredith Memorial Roping set for July 20-22 in Young. The competition is held each year in conjunction with the Pleasant Valley Days, which is the biggest and most festive celebration held annually in Young and Pleasant Valley.

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New house on Main fits historic flavor

Kudos to Matt and Becca Sopeland on the recent construction of their beautiful, quaint new home in the 700 block of West Main Street. The couple, along with their three young children, Emme, Olivia and Jack, moved in just this past February.

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Our pine trees are now smiling

Finally!!!! The clouds opened up and let go with a considerable amount of rain for Payson and the surrounding area. The rain totals were widely spread from a small amount to three inches in some places.

Arizona ranks near the bottom of states for per-pupil spending on grade schools

WASHINGTON – Arizona had the third-lowest per-pupil spending on public elementary schools in the country in 2010, topping only Utah and Idaho, according to a recent Census Bureau report. Arizona schools spent an average of $7,848 per grade school student in that year, well below the national average of $10,615 per pupil, according to the Census report released in late June.

Payson woman wins $7.3 million judgement

A Payson woman enduring years of debilitating pain after developing an infection following knee surgery has been awarded almost $7.3 million after a two-week trial in Globe ended last week.

Thursday, July 19

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Candidates declare war on feds

State legislative contenders stress crusade to undo terms of statehood so Arizona can control federal lands

The three Republican contenders for the state House and Senate seats representing Rim Country launched a full-throated call to wage figurative war on the federal government at a joint appearance last week before the Payson Tea Party.

Nightmare accident kills two

A midnight four-wheeling excursion Saturday killed two Payson residents, one of them a middle school student, after a Jeep Wrangler carrying eight people rolled down a steep embankment near Doll Baby Ranch Road.

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Schools cut budget 5 percent

Teacher costs take big drop, grant may help cushion blow

The Payson Unified School District’s (PUSD) budget for the 2012-13 school year will drop 4.16 percent, reflecting layoffs and a drop in enrollment. The school board adopted a $14.6 million operations and maintenance (M & O) budget for 2012-13 at its meeting on Monday, July 9.

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We lost ‘amazing people’

Friends of Devin and Jeff say victims would help anyone, anytime

Family and friends of two people killed in a four-wheeling accident this weekend are struggling to understand how a fun outing could go so tragically wrong. Devin Grace Frantzke, 14, and Jeff Johnston, 55, of Payson, died when they were thrown from a Jeep Wrangler early Sunday morning near the end of Doll Baby Ranch Road.

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Payson SWAT team responds to gun threats

Bizarre behavior alarms bystanders, draws police to ultimately empty threats

Friday the 13th kept police busy with strange, back-to-back calls involving alleged threats to use a gun in a dispute. Officers ended up arresting two men, but not for weapons misconduct. The first call came in about 3:30 p.m. after a man reportedly brandished a handgun in the Walmart parking lot. An hour later, authorities got word that a man was holed up in his apartment with a shotgun.

Wednesday, July 18

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Music for your life

TCCA brings eight performances to area

The Tonto Community Concert Association’s 2012-2013 season will feature eight varied acts including entertainers, singers and musicians to dazzle and delight Rim Country residents and guests.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 22: ANCIENT BONES

For some weeks we have been investigating the violence that plagued the Rim Country during the closing years of the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries. In this concluding chapter we take a flight of imagination back over the centuries to seek answers for several discoveries of ancient bones in the Payson area.

A new take on picnic favorites

Picnics are a perfect way to enjoy getting together with friends and family this summer. No matter what your destination — beach, park or just your backyard — there’s no need to settle for standard fare.

An Oasis in The Desert

The history of Palm Springs is varied. More than 2,000 years ago, Palm Springs’ first residents were the ancestors of today’s Cahuilla bands. The Agua Caliente existed as peaceful hunters and gatherers, living off the land.

The Amazing Spiderman

Only slightly above average

One industry insider of my acquaintance prognosticated that it is just too soon to begin another Spiderman series.

Getaway Around Rim Country

Festivities start Friday, July 20 with the Pleasant Valley Fire Department dinner from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., along with a program by Cindy Shanks on the last group of sheep to walk the sheep driveway west of Young.

Good 2 Go

On Saturday, July 28, a two-hour program of history from Rim Country will be presented at the LDS Church — Stake Family History Center, 913 S. Ponderosa St., Payson. The program will start at 4 p.m., with six historians talking about six different Rim Country topics.

Friends present A Taste at The Bridge

On Saturday, Aug. 4, the Friends of the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will present A Taste at The Bridge from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Little League elbow is overuse injury

Will you kindly tell me what is the appropriate time interval for a repeat colonoscopy? I have different information from doctors. I had my first colonoscopy when I was 51. The doctor who performed it s

Tuesday, July 17

Don’t miss Pleasant Valley Days this weekend in Young

The residents of the Young area aren’t letting the happily departed Poco Fire put a damper on their Arizona Centennial celebration of Pleasant Valley Days. Festivities start Friday, July 20 with the Pleasant Valley Fire Department dinner from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., along with a program by Cindy Shanks on the last group of sheep to walk the sheep driveway west of Young.

Community Almanac

The annual “Dog’ed Daze of Summer, Law Enforcement EXPO and K-9 Demonstration” takes place Tuesday, July 17 at the Payson Event Center, 1400 S. Beeline Highway, across from the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino.

True patriots fight higher corporate taxes

I wholeheartedly defend rich and privileged individuals and corporations of the United States.

An unforgettable year

I would like to personally thank Michael Buskirk/Daria Mason and family, Scott and Janet Nossek and family and Michael and Theresa Garré and family, who have hosted exchange students this year through EF Foundation for Foreign Study.

Unions fought for workers

I was very amused by the recent letter which complained that I dwelled too much on the fact that George Bush hadn’t been in office for 40.2375 months and I suppose we should leave him alone even though his presidency was the worst in history!

Taxes, wealth and patriotism

I read Jim Gier’s recent 700-plus word response to my letter in the Payson Roundup with some interest.

Bible school a success

I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers and staff at First Southern Baptist Church, Payson Community Christian School, parents and the over 53 kids who helped make this year’s Vacation Bible School such a success.

Tragedy finds us once again

Tragedy — remorseless and without appeal — has found us once again. Over the weekend, a miscalculation on a mud-slick road on a backcountry jaunt turned adventure into despair and dismay.

Help bring children’s theater to Payson

The theater directors and the students of both the high school and junior drama programs are working to bring Missoula Children’s Theater to Payson in August. This is a production company from Montana that provides a great experience for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade. Between 50 and 60 youngsters will have a chance to be part of a professional theatre production.

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Willow Flycatcher: Still singing the blues

A little bird that casts a big shadow doesn’t need quite as much critical habitat as thought, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has concluded. The USFWS recently announced it has excluded about 900 miles of streams from the restrictive, critical habitat designation — leaving a total of about 2,100 miles of stream front throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

Know your Medicare rights

As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections. And it’s worth knowing what they are. You have rights whether you’re enrolled in Original Medicare — in which you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare — or Medicare Advantage, in which you get care within a network of health care providers. Such networks are run by private companies approved by Medicare.

Birds in yard a thing of beauty

“Ooo? Oo oo oo” — It is a little after 4 a.m. and still dark outside. From the back yard comes a sleepy call of our resident mourning dove. He must have decided it was too early to get up; no more calls for another half-hour.

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A night in the slammer, but all for a good cause

The skies were dark, thunder boomed and the gray walls with barbed wire forbidding: A deep breath and on I went to booking. I expected the fingerprinting, the photo and all of the paperwork and questions. But I didn’t realize my purse wouldn’t fit in the plastic sack given to me for the valuables and the inventory process took longer than I expected.

Rash of crashes bedevils firefighters

Several car crashes both in and out of town this weekend left half a dozen people hospitalized. The rash of calls had firefighters and medics scrambling, from Corvair Curve south of town, north to the Tonto Natural Bridge turnoff, in town at Rumsey Park and in front of the Jiffy Lube on Highway 260.

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Monsoon opens forests, douses fires

Storm reopens forest, Fossil Creek, dumps three inches on Pine

A Sunday night storm dumped more than three inches of rain on Pine, signaling the onset of what forecasters say should be a near-normal monsoon season. The deluge dumped three inches in three hours on Pine, flooding Bradshaw Road and filling long-dry Pine Creek.

Football is in the Rim’s monsoon air

The summer is winding down meaning it’s about time to begin focusing on the upcoming football season — whether it is high school, collegiate or professional. In prep preseason action, Payson is playing host this week, July 16 to July 20, to a high school training camp that has drawn teams from Coolidge, Red Mountain, Yuma Kofa, Glendale Independence and Desert Edge.

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LL Stars to play Chandler vs. Gilbert winner tonight

The Payson 13- and 14-year-old “Junior” Little League All-Star baseball team advances to the state tournament clutching Area 1 and District 1 championships, but could meet a rugged foe in the squad’s opening game.

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Payson senior first at Havasu event

While 82-year-old Tom Cooka mulls over participating in the upcoming Lori Piestewa Games, he looks back with a great deal of pride on his participation in the Lake Havasu Half-Marathon. On April 14, Cooka took first place in the 80-99-years age group running the half-marathon in 2:24.20.

Teens prep in two summer golf tours

Golf is the name of the summer game for a tight-knit group of talented golfers who last school year led Payson High School to Division III state tournament runner-up honors and a bevy of first place finishes in regular season invitationals.

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Stars hope to shine in Benson

A spunky group of 10- and 11-year-old softball All-Stars left Payson Sunday morning, July 15, bound for Benson and dreaming of winning the town’s first Little League state championship. The girls, managed by Andrew Newell and coached by Tara Smith, earned a state seed by virtue of winning both the Area 1 and District 1 championships.

Clubs and Organizations

The Payson Rodeo Committee is now meeting to make final preparations for the upcoming August rodeo. It will meet July 17, 31 and Aug. 7 — prior to the August rodeo. The meeting time is at 6 p.m. Usually the meetings are at the Best Western Inn of Payson, however, the meeting July 17 is at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260.

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Peterson wins President’s Cup

The June highlight for the Payson Women’s Golf Association is the annual President’s Cup. This year, the two-day tournament took place on June 19 and June 26. It is a low net competition, so handicaps are used in determining the best score.

Monday, July 16

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Pokemon Center

We have been waiting anxiously for this trip to start. From day one we were excited about visiting the Pokemon Center in Tokyo, Japan, looking up the store online for several weeks before departing.

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2012 Payson Ski and Hike Club Japan Trip

Introduction from Payson High School Principal Anna Van Zile:

Beginning in October of 2111, Payson High School's Hike and Ski Club started planning their second trip to Japan. Over the course of many months and several fund raisers planned by the parents, seven students self-funded the cost of the $2500.00 trip.

Friday, July 13

Christopher-Kohl’s Fire District wants bigger board

The Christopher-Kohl’s Fire District residents have asked the county for an election to expand its current three-member board to five. Current chair Deborah Dawson said while she did not make the move to enlarge the board, she feels it will create more input, which will make the board more effective.

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Endangered watershed

Aerial tour underscores danger to water supply on which Rim Country depends

The dry and spindly forest rises and slopes across the terrain, an unbroken ocean of trees crowding right to the edge of a sinuous snake of aqua-blue, with a shed skin of raw, exposed rock. Rim Country’s future lies beneath that unbroken canopy of tinder dry trees and along the twisted banks of that canyon-caught Blue Ridge Reservoir, as revealed this week during a helicopter tour hosted by the Salt River Project.

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Windfall enriches schools

Last-minute federal money eases tight Payson budget

In a welcome budget surprise, the federal government this week gave the Payson Unified School District an extra $368,000. “This came as a complete surprise,” said Payson Unified School District Business Manager Kathie Manning.

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Monsoons huff and puff but yield little rain

Rim Country’s almost-monsoon season this week brought dangerous flashes of lightning, but not much of the rain needed to dampen fire danger and reopen the forests on which the region’s tourist-oriented economy depends.

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Pot permits popular here

Medical marijuana patients could soon fill prescriptions in Payson if the state issues dispensary licenses next month as planned. State rules provide for one dispensary in northern and another in southern Gila County within a year of the Aug. 7 lottery.

Community Almanac

A Job Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 14 at the community room of Messinger’s Payson Funeral Home, 901 S. Westerly Road.

Lack of clarity frustrating

I wish to commend you on your recent article, “Supreme Court sets off frenzy of political spin.”

Angels among us

Last Monday I headed into the bank.

Unhappy with dog park

I have found the most dangerous place in Payson.

What’s fair?

I write in response to a recent note from someone who finds it patriotic to pay unlimited amounts of taxes but not patriotic to pay whatever it takes to fund often nonsensical government spending.

We need reservoirs

For all my life, I have watched water flow down places like Tonto Creek, Salt River and others, and it flows to nowhere, because we refuse to build more reservoirs.

Shaffer would never turn his back on the community

Dean Shaffer has been a good friend of mine for over 20 years.

Private enterprise funds the government

One can surmise from the letters of Larry Brophy that he never had the responsibility of meeting a payroll.

Schools stuck in orphanage

The Payson Unified School District seems trapped in some twisted Dickensonian tale — a waif in an orphanage beaten with a porridge spoon who must force a pained smile and say, “Please, sir, may I have some more?” Now, this may seem a churlish way to thank the federal government for a $368,000 payment, but consider the sequence.

Chamber plans July 14 Job Fair

Job seekers can meet with employers looking from 8 a.m. to noon, July 14 at the Payson Messenger Community Room. This fair is open to any Rim Country resident or business (by prior application) to connect employers with eligible applicants in Rim Country.

Health reform repeal provokes party-line vote

Rep. Paul Gosar predicts expansion of health coverage will flatline our economy

WASHINGTON — Arizona lawmakers split straight down party lines Wednesday as the House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, less than two weeks after it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

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Mt. Fuji hike through Nick McMullen's eyes

Fuji-san, one of the most mystical, geographically diverse, and beautiful mountains in the world. Next comes the part you won't believe: a group of students from Payson, Arizona conquered that mountain and watched the sun rise from its summit.

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Girl sells lemonade to raise money for local food bank

When Helen and Philip Martin’s 12-year-old granddaughter Elsa Alexander wanted to do a lemonade stand for National Lemonade Day, the couple immediately thought of the empty shelves at St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank. “We saw in the paper it was in trouble,” said Helen.

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Conquering a mystical mountain

Students’ trip to Japan includes hike up Mt. Fuji

Beginning in October 2011, Payson High School’s Hike and Ski Club started planning its second trip to Japan. Over the course of many months and several fund-raisers planned by the parents, seven students self-funded the cost of the $2,500 trip.

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Drama students win awards at Costume Con

Fairies, fuzzy monsters and Payson drama students garbed as Vikings converged recently in Phoenix at the 30th annual Costume Con. The Payson students came away with awards. Costume Con is a four-day international conference that showcases the talents of folks who design, make and wear costumes.

GCC nursing receives donation

Gila Community College’s (GCC) workhorse nursing program got a boost recently, with the donation of 20 IV pumps by Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center (CVRMC) in Globe.

Pleasant Valley Days kick off next weekend

The residents of the Young area aren’t letting the happily departed Poco Fire put a damper on their Arizona Centennial celebration of Pleasant Valley Days. Festivities start Friday, July 20 with the Pleasant Valley Fire Department dinner from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., along with a program by Cindy Shanks on the last group of sheep to walk the sheep driveway west of Young.

Arizona schools posted some of nation’s biggest tuition increases

WASHINGTON – Fueled by state budget cuts to higher education, tuition increases of 49 percent at the University of Arizona and 44 percent at Arizona State University landed the two schools in the top 20 for tuition hikes from 2008 to 2010.

Clubs and Organizations

This group has no dues or age restrictions. The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Bunch meets at Tiny’s Restaurant every week at 9 a.m. to visit and plan future activities.

Fohr celebrates retirement after 32 years in U.S. Navy

In Boston, Mass. aboard the USS Constitution, dignitaries, military personnel and his entire family celebrated Commander Thomas David Fohr’s retirement after serving for 32 years in the United States Navy.

Vouchers available to help with cat spay or neuter

The Humane Society of Central Arizona and its affiliates are firm believers in spaying and neutering because it saves lives. Spaying and neutering is very important and there are a few programs locally that can assist you, as well as other programs throughout the state.

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Swinging for the fences

Junior Little League team earns first-ever seed to state tourney

A plucky group of nine aspiring baseball players — the minimum number needed for a team — Wednesday made Payson Little League history by winning both Area and District championships to earn a first-ever seed in the state tournament.

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Happy birthday, Arizona — P/S style

Earlier this week, a thought struck me. It was July 8. Seven days past July 1. I forgot my wedding anniversary. My husband forgot too. “Good grief!” I said, “I can’t believe we didn’t remember.” He pointed out to the tree where two squirrels were munching on sunflower seeds and birds were fluttering around the feeder. He said, “All that matters is right here, you and me happy and together in Pine. We celebrate every day.”

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Hoping for rain to protect our forests

Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? I think I used to be, but now I take the days as they come without worrying about the date. The one thing I do worry about now is the safety of our forest. Since I live right in the middle of those magnificent ponderosa pines in the Tonto National Forest, I worry about when the next bit of moisture falls our way.

Annual alumni soccer game next Saturday

Lady Longhorn soccer coach Amy Wilcox has issued an invitation for all former PHS players to turn out for the annual alumni game to be played at 9 a.m., Saturday, July 21 on the South Rumsey multipurpose field. Alumni players are asked to wear dark-colored shirts and will play against a squad made up of current high school players.

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Stars shine, but fall to Show Low

Payson Little League 11-12 years All-Star baseball team coach Craig McMullen calls the players, in a show of ultimate respect, “a rag-tag group” who surprised almost everyone with their gutsy, spirited play that led to an Area 1 second-place finish and berth in the District 1 tournament.

All-Star manager praises volunteer

Junior Stars on verge of winning District crown

Payson Little League 13-14 years “Junior” All-Star baseball team manager Tony McNeeley is spewing superlatives over the contributions volunteer coach Jeff Cochran has made to the team in its bid to reach the state championships. “He’s dedicated and he loves the game,” McNeeley said. “He has so much knowledge of the game and he’s a class act.”

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Ex-Horn receives GCU scholarship

Former Payson High School golf star Tyler Apps received a much-welcomed monetary surprise last week while meeting with Grand Canyon University coach Paul Purtzer. The coach told the ex-Longhorn that he would be on the receiving end of a $1,500 golf scholarship to play next season for the Antelopes.

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Softball Benson-bound for Star wars

When Payson’s 10-11-years Little League softball All-Star players were selected at the conclusion of the regular season, coach Andre Newell expressed optimism that the team would represent the program well, mostly because those chosen had been playing fast-pitch since the program began three years ago.

Payson Recreation Roundup

Round up your friends and get your team registered for this second annual event. Players must be 12 years of age and older. Cost is $30 per team. The tournament will be held at Julia Randall Elementary School gym starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 4.

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Andy Griffith will be missed by many

Gone is the era of simplicity, innocence and the importance of family values found on television in the 1950s and ’60s. Gone are the days when you could turn on one of the three or four UHS channels that were available back then on your black & white, 19-inch set and without thinking about it, know you were going to enjoy a quality, wholesome show.

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July 4th event a great success

Hello again, fellow Creekers. Due to an overwhelming response from the community and visitors, we wanted to make the Christopher Creek Independence Day Parade a two-part series. Everyone should appreciate and enjoy without hesitation a small-town parade. The Christopher Creek Independence Day Parade was no exception.

Ever wonder why it’s so easy to make some choices? Part II

Last week we talked about a red cardinal chick it was my privilege to rescue from a miserable fate. I found it among a pile of wet leaves and branches left behind after I cleared away a head-high pile of branches that filled my back yard in Port Arthur, Texas, after a very nasty storm.

Wednesday, July 11

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Heartaches & Miracles

Mystery illness challenges family

A child’s mystery illness has cast a struggling Payson family into a crisis that has grown increasingly common, as the medical bills and demands triggered a job loss and bills, bills, bills. But the battered Austins have also discovered miracles of support through social media, rallying people to their cause through Facebook and other connections.

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Failure rate spurs debate

Laid off teacher says instructors pressed to not flunk students

During the last week of the school year in May, a daunting 27 percent of the Payson High School (PHS) student body failed one or more classes. Each week, PHS collects the data on how many students fail to determine eligibility for extracurricular activities including sports, music and drama. If a student fails a class, they may not participate.

Dangerous bear still on the loose

DNA results in most aggressive attack clear all three bears killed by hunters

Genetic testing has indicated the bear that severely injured a man last month remains on the loose, clearing all three bears killed by state hunters after a string of three attacks near campgrounds south of Highway 260 near Christopher Creek.

Overwhelmed foster care system faces crisis

“Mom, can ‘Joe’ come and live with us?” asked Karen Carlen’s foster son one night as he ate his before-bed snack. Carlen and her husband already had a full house after adopting her three nephews and nieces. But after hearing about Joe from her foster son, she could not turn him away. “That’s how it all started,” said Carlen.

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Algae kills thousands of fish in the Salt River

A plant that lives year-round in the Salt River caused the death of thousands of fish last week, officials believe. Severe drought and high salinity levels apparently caused the Golden alga to bloom, clogging fish gills and causing the fish to hemorrhage and die, said Jim Paxon, chief of information with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The thing that will cure that is about two inches of rain,” he said.

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30-acre brush fire briefly closed Beeline Highway Saturday

A heavy air assault brought the Long Fire south of Payson under control Saturday, although the blaze briefly shut down Highway 87 in both directions. The brush fire started in the afternoon 35 miles south of Payson along the west side of Highway 87.

Take the stress out of backyard entertaining

Warm weather provides the perfect excuse to gather all your loved ones together for good food and fun. And while people relish the idea of catching up with family and friends, planning and preparing for these festivities may be daunting, as well as time-consuming. A few tips, however, can help make sure you aren’t tied to your kitchen — and help turn your traditional recipes into fabulous fare

Hawaii is for everyone

There are few destinations that are suited for almost every traveler. Hawaii is one of them. It has almost everything you could want — good weather, tropical scenery and fine hotels and resorts. The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, and numerous atolls. The island group was once known as the Sandwich Islands.

At the Movies

In all story telling, the audience must engage in what we call a willing suspension of disbelief. In this case we must somehow believe that the hard working, ambitious and truly lovely Lori (Mila Kunis) has remained for four years in a relationship with John (Mark Wahlberg), a slacker/stoner in his mid-30s who would rather hang out with his best friend Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) than give his attention to his girlfriend.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The residents of the Young area aren’t letting the happily departed Poco Fire put a damper on their Arizona Centennial celebration of Pleasant Valley Days. The call is going out for entries in the annual quilt show — the deadline is July 17. The show will be July 21, with lots going on before and after.

Brain bleeding from aneurysm

Recently a friend passed away from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The total course of the disease took about 10 weeks, although some recall subtle changes earlier. This has been described as human mad cow disease, or very rapid Alzheimer’s. What can you tell us about it?

Missoula Children’s Theater in Payson

Theater directors and students of both the high school and junior drama programs are working to bring Missoula Children’s Theater to Payson in August. This is a production company from Montana that provides a great experience for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade. Between 50 and 60 youngsters will have a chance to be part of a professional theatre production.

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All the world and beyond

Children can have the world and beyond with books

Introduce children to books and you give them the entire world and beyond — their imagination is their ticket. Both the Payson Public Library and the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine participate in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Gila County Library District’s programs promoting early literacy.

Star Valley man imagines life after Alcatraz

Writing is part of Kevin Bruce’s genetic code. His father, J. Campbell Bruce, wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years, was a Sunday stringer for the New York Times, wrote for Readers Digest and authored the non-fiction book, Escape from Alcatraz, on which a successful movie starring Clint Eastwood was based. Bruce himself has authored two books on art published by Random House’s Ten Speed Press. “I always wanted to write fiction, but I didn’t know what to write,” he said.

Attract birds & butterflies

Add a little extra color and motion to your summer garden with containers designed to attract birds and butterflies. Many garden centers continue to sell annuals throughout the summer and many of these mid-season annuals are a bit bigger, providing instant impact. It’s easier than you think to attract birds and butterflies and the good news is you don’t need a lot of space to do it.

How the Payson area has been viewed over time

I love old newspaper clips. One of my favorite things to look at it is how people have viewed the Payson area historically. So let’s take a look at some old clips. The 1870s were the beginning of non-native settlement in this region. At the time Prescott to the west was a particularly major player in the state — it had been the territorial capital from 1864 to 1867 and would be again from 1877 to 1889.

Good 2 Go

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn where and when to look for wildlife. Topics to be covered include how to view wildlife responsibly to minimize impact on the animals, the habitat and other nature enthusiasts. The program is from 11 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 14 at the parks office in Green Valley Park. The fee is $5.

Orphan Fire on Tonto National Forest

6.5 miles southwest of Superior, Ariz., Jul. 11, 2012, 0930 hrs.

The Orphan fire was reported Wednesday, July 10, 2012 at 4:11 p.m. It is burning 6.5 miles southwest of Superior, Ariz in a rough and remote section of the Tonto National Forest.

Little League softball all-stars qualify for the Arizona state tournament.

The Payson 9-10-year-old Little League softball all-stars have become the first-ever local girls fast pitch team to qualify for the Arizona state tournament.

Lane striping scheduled on northbound I-17 north of Sedona turnoff this week

Drivers advised to allow extra travel time between Phoenix and Flagstaff

The final work to repave a six-mile segment of northbound Interstate 17 just north of State Route 179 (Sedona turnoff) will require lane restrictions between 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Tuesday, July 10

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Hiroshima

We get off the train in Hiroshima and it's pouring. We put on our rain coats and pick up our bags for the walk to our hostel for the night, following the always competent Mrs. VanZile. We drop off our bags and then we start the metro ride to something I wasn't ready for.

Community Almanac

The Payson Rodeo Committee needs volunteers to put on the 2012 World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. Help is needed in areas like ticket takers, the souvenir booth, 50/50 ticket sales, security and other non-livestock areas. See what it is all about and how you can meet some great people at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 10 at the Best Western Payson Inn. Meetings will also be held July 17 and 31.

Court bows to Obama

Well, it seems that our U.S. Supreme Court has bowed to Obama again with their ruling on SB 1070!

Stubbs for county sheriff

The value of having a sheriff in office that knows, and acts on the fact he is the highest governmental authority in the county is incalculable.

Amount of taxes paid is not an indication of patriotism

Strange, based on Mr. Brophy’s line of reasoning, the more taxes you pay the bigger or greater a patriot you become!

Feezor for county recorder

It’s time for a more efficient and effective recorder’s office.

Confused over vehicle ownership

What does ownership of a vehicle in Arizona mean?

We can’t go on like this

You can lead a horse to water — but you can’t make him turn in his homework. Then again — if a horse flunks out, you don’t pay the cost in social woes and welfare costs for the rest of his life. So what should we make of social studies teacher Ron Silverman’s insistence that he ended up on the Payson School Board’s layoff list because he insisted on flunking students who didn’t turn in homework and couldn’t pass their tests? When parents complained, Silverman says the administration caved — and approved the wholesale transfer of students from his classes.

Get locked up – For a good cause

The accommodations lack plush towels or Tempur-Pedic beds or extra pillows — and checking out is a nightmare. In fact, it’s the worst hotel you could imagine. So sensible people don’t seek to spend a night in jail — especially if they have to pay for it.

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All the world and beyond

Library offers children free books to boost reading rates

Introduce children to books and you give them the passage to the entire world and beyond — their imaginations are their tickets. Both the Payson Public Library and the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine participate in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Gila County Library District’s programs promoting early literacy.

Second quarter delivers huge sales boost in Pine

Finally, some good news to report. The second quarter of 2012 brought with it an upward trend in home values, that will hopefully continue. The average selling price of homes in both Payson and Pine-Strawberry increased from the first quarter of 2012. Pine-Strawberry showed the increase with home values up 61 percent.

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Main Street restaurant will feature steaks, seafood and New Orleans kick

After sitting empty for several years, the former Main Street Grille will reopen as the Journigan House on Labor Day weekend. New owners are injecting fresh life and style into the historic building and bringing some Creole flare to the food. Corey Johnson bought the space in late June and quickly set contractors to work.

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PHS graduate receives nursing award

Haylee Huff, RN, a 2005 graduate of Payson High School and daughter of local Realtor and school board member Rory Huff and his wife Brenda, who works for the Town of Payson’s Water Department recently received the prestigious DAISY award for Extraordinary Nurses. “We’re so proud of her,” said Brenda.

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A slew of new faces at Payson High School

At the end of the school year and a round of layoffs, Payson High School (PHS) had an empty counseling department, vacated secretary desks and classrooms without a teacher. By the beginning of July, administration had filled most of the unoccupied positions, except for a freshman English teacher and auto shop instructor.

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Pine has a blast at centennial bash

Residents of the tiny mountain hamlets of Pine and Strawberry sometimes jokingly refer to themselves as “Pine Cones” as tribute to their laid back lifestyles.

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.

Cooperation from coaches imperative in sports reporting

Nary a month goes by that someone doesn’t ask me how a math teacher and football and baseball coach, such as myself, got involved in journalism. For me, it all began in June of 1983 in Show Low while I was looking for summer employment, which in those days was a financial must for underpaid teachers and coaches.

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Stars wage diamond wars

While some Payson Little League softball and baseball teams have been eliminated from postseason Area 1 tournaments, three remain in contention for upcoming District 1 and the Arizona state tournament.

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Stodghill heads to national finals

If work ethic and dedication are indeed keys to success, Pine teenager Chelsie Stodghill should soon be reaping the rewards of the hours of practice she spends honing her skills as a high school rodeo performer.

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Chance sets sights on Olympics

After competing for just one summer with the Payson Pikes swim team, Garret Chance knew he was hooked on the sport. “That sparked his interest in swimming,” said his mother Cheryl. “His goal now is to make it to the Olympics. “We don’t know if he will ever do it, but it’s his goal.”

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Monsoon second in Kingman

small-town Arizona proud by playing to a second-place finish in the ASA State B 14-years-and-under tournament played July 6 to 8 in Kingman.

Monday, July 9

Golden alga causes fish die-off on Salt River

Thousands of fish are dead on a 20-mile stretch of the Salt River, where it flows into the east side of Roosevelt Lake. The Arizona Game and Fish Department began receiving reports of dead fish from the public on Wednesday, July 4, and department officers confirmed the fish die-off. A response team took water samples and collected dead fish on Thursday, and this morning’s lab tests revealed high concentrations of Golden alga believed to be the cause of the die-off.

State Route 87 pavement maintenance Tuesday and Wednesday north of Pine

Drivers should expect lane restrictions and delays up to 30 minutes

Arizona Department of Transportation crews will apply oil to the roadway surface to protect and preserve the pavement on 14 miles of State Route 87 Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10 and 11.

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Fishing fans: hit the Rim Lakes

Since I am writing this column on Tuesday, I do not know if we had the rainfall that was predicted for Wednesday, the 4th of July. According to the Payson Ranger Station, the Tonto National Forest is closed to camping and hiking because of the extreme dryness of the forest and the safety of people because of bear attacks. Even a simple task such as walking your animals in the forest is prohibited.

Sunday, July 8

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Mystery die-off hits fish in Salt River above Roosevelt

Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists are investigating what caused the death of hundreds and perhaps thousands of fish in the Salt River east of Roosevelt Lake. Anglers reported finding the fish Wednesday upstream of Horseshoe Bend in a 20-mile stretch of the Salt River.

Saturday, July 7

Highway 87 closed south of Highway 188 turnoff

Officials have closed Highway 87 south of the Highway 188 turnoff due to a 50-acre brush fire. The Long Fire is burning on the Tonto National Forest between mileposts 210 and 215, roughly 35 miles south of Payson.

Friday, July 6

Payson lands $784,600 grant

Federal money will restore three-man crews on fire trucks

The third time was the charm for the Payson Fire Department. After several unsuccessful bids, the fire department received word Monday it will get a $784,600 federal grant to hire six new firefighters. Payson is the second Arizona fire department to receive a Staffing For Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. In May, Hellsgate Fire in Star Valley got $607,000 through the federal grant. Both departments plan to use the money to retain or hire more firefighters.

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Storm brings tantalizing traces of rain

Moisture dampens fires, but can’t break drought

Rim Country got welcome traces of rain on Wednesday, but not enough to spoil the fireworks show, mitigate the drought or significantly reduce the still worrisome fire danger. The rain, humidity near 30 percent and temperatures in the 80s instead of the high 90s also dampened the 7.532-acre Canyon Fire, burning 15 miles northeast of the Blue Ridge Reservoir. With the fire 75 percent contained, the 15 remaining firefighters assigned to the blaze spent the holiday mostly mopping up and patrolling for hot spots.

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Wonder and fear mingle at night on the shores of Green Valley Lake

The twilight gathered. The children chattered. The swifts retreated. The sunset reflected And all the while the little cluster of the curious gathered close around the Bat Lady, with her outlandish hat and thick leather gloves as she drew aside the veil of the night.

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Rim Country Stages 4th of July Blast

Thousands crowd into park for birthday bash

As night fell on Payson Wednesday, families from around the state filled Main Street, making their way to Green Valley Park for the best vantage point of the night’s pyrotechnic festivities. Cramming nearly every square inch around the lake, groups scattered blankets and chairs across the lawn, quilting the landscape with a red, white and blue color scheme.

Calderwood, Lindo are PMGA’s two-man, best-ball champs

John Calderwood and Ralph Lindo played their way to championship honors in the Payson Men’s Golf Association-hosted Two-Man Best Ball Tournament June 20 and June 27 at Payson Golf Course. In winning, the pair carded a 113 with single round totals of 58 and 55. With a 116 (61 and 55) the team of Tim Ernst and Mike McKee was second.

Star Valley council mulls spending limit

As new operators of the water system in Star Valley, the members of the town council are learning about wells, monitoring systems and the cost of repairs. At its July 3 meeting, the council heard a report from Town Manager Tim Grier and town water operator Robert Rippy. Grier led off by telling the council he had a concern about the $5,000 limit on his spending authority when it came to emergency water issues. The concern arose when the pump at the Milky Way site well went out over the weekend.

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Mysterious blaze destroys motor home

An unexplained early morning blaze at a local campground Friday destroyed a large motor home, but firefighters managed to keep the flames from spreading to nearby trailers and trees. While it took firefighters roughly 20 minutes to get a handle on the fire in the Payson Campground, 808 E. Highway 260, it took some time to get residents calmed down.

Community Almanac

Friday, July 6 will be an Independence Day-themed First Friday celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Historic Main Street in Payson. Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St., will be offering a hot dish, along with coffee and lemonade. The evening’s entertainment features guitar vocalist Joanie Smith Reynolds, guitar vocalist Anne James, vocalist Jennifer Baltz, saxophonist Bob Tarallo, and others, all for a $5 donation, which will be used to cover meal expenses.

Firewise. Not.

What do we mean by firewise?

Computer scam

A new scam is hitting! Please don’t fall for it.

ADEQ public emergency notification requirements

As a resident of Pine, I feel appalled that Title 18, Arizona Administrative Code Chapter 4 Subpart Q — Public Notification of Drinking Water Violations § 141.201 general public notification requirements would allow for people drinking “contaminated” (or thought to be contaminated on June 19, 2012) with only public notification of written postings in the U.S. Post Office and on the Water Company building in Pine, neither of these methods comes anywhere near effective for notifying people in the rural communities of Pine and Strawberry.

Unintended consequences

What part of unintended consequences doesn’t our governor understand?

Read our Declaration of Independence

The 4th is now over.

Too many rising rates

For the last couple of months we’ve had to endure propane rate increases, Gila Community College raising our property taxes and now the town council is raising property taxes.

Wonderful news, vexing questions

Payson residents caught a lucky break when the federal government agreed to provide enough money to hire six firefighters for the next two years. The $784,600 SAFER grant will restore three-man paramedic crews to fire trucks — including at the newest third fire station. Studies show that firefighters on two-man crews suffer more injuries and perform critical tasks more slowly. When it comes to fires and heart attacks, every minute matters.

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Generous donations

Wells Fargo recently made a $5,000 donation to the Mogollon Health Alliance to support a breast health for life program.

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Volunteer vets at mobile clinics treat sick, abandoned animals

Reducing birthrates is main priority

“We took care of 71 dogs and cats on Friday; another 70 or so today, and will probably spay and neuter another 40 to 50 on Sunday.” I hear these words from Shelby Davis, co-founder of Soul Dog Rescue, while my family had dinner with her at a restaurant in Chinle, Ariz. She coordinates the work of Soul Dog volunteer veterinarians and their assistants who provide health care for thousands of owned, abandoned and homeless animals. The team sets up temporary clinics to triage the sometimes life-threatening problems of animals in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Two women vie for Gila County District One supervisor seat

Martin focuses on experience, challenger on money questions

Incumbent Republican District One Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin wants to keep her job, but now faces a general election challenge from Independent Hallie Overman-Jackman. No other Republicans, Democrats or Independents have filed, which means voters won’t get to make a choice until Nov. 6. The Roundup recently asked both candidates to fill out a questionnaire indicating their top issues and goals.

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Wildfire refugees find a new home

Game and Fish offers sanctuary to 200 rare Gila trout

A band of iridescent refugees recently made homeless by a catastrophic wildfire made an extraordinary journey in the shadow of extinction. As the worst wildfire in New Mexico history swept over their homes, they headed for Arizona via helicopter and truck — before being stuffed into backpacks for the final leg of an odyssey of survival.

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Whispering Pines hosts July 4th parade

Whispering Pines hosted its 10th annual Independence Day parade on June 30 and invited neighboring Rim Country communities to participate. The one-mile parade attracted 24 entries from Rim Trails, Geronimo Estates, Cowan Ranch, Bonita Creek, Verde Glen, Whispering Pines and Beaver Valley.

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Flea and tick season is here; protect your pets

Ticks and fleas are more than just a nuisance. Not only do they cause distress in dogs and cats, they also cause disease. On-again, off-again preventive programs are not the way to protect your pets’ health. Since the weather is warming up, it’s only a matter of time before we start to see dogs and cats with fleas and ticks.

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Visitors come for same reason we did

Do you ever wonder why so many people flock to our area in the summertime? Probably for much the same reasons most of us have chosen to call Pine and Strawberry home. Many come to escape the heat or the noise of the city and bask in the beauty and solitude of the Rim Country. Visitors feel they have stepped back in time and are in a Norman Rockwell print.

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Time flies when you’re having fun

This summer seems like it’s just flashing by at light-year speed. The summer solstice has already come and gone, the days are beginning to get shorter, Independence Day has skyrocketed by and after this Saturday night, the summer outdoor concert series at Green Valley Park will be two-thirds of the way through.

Ever wonder why it’s so easy to make some choices

I admit it. I bounced through life like the ball in a pinball machine. You know what I mean? No specific goals. No eye on the future. No great plans. Just bouncing left and right, rolling downhill, bumping against this and that, taking each moment as it comes, and letting each choice make itself. Some people would say I chose the easy road, and I’d agree with them except for one thing.

A brief glance at upcoming football season

“The rich get richer” certainly applies to high school football. For example, defending state champion Blue Ridge is loaded with talent and will obviously contend next season for another state crown. But just last week, the Yellow Jackets picked up two talented transfers, Nolan Cox and a Payson lineman, that should make the 2012 BRHS team even more formidable.

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Stars set to shine in postseason

A field of six Payson Little League all-star teams are battling in Flagstaff, Winslow, Show Low and at Rumsey Park for Area 1 titles and the right to advance to District 1 and state championship tournaments. Among the Rim Country teams, four are baseball squads and two are softball. All the all-star players were selected in June at the conclusion of the regular season in a voting of coaches.

Payson football camp has six teams

Gridiron hibernation is over — the smell of pigskin will soon waft through the Rim Country summer air. It occurs July 16 to July 20 when six teams and about 500 aspiring high school football players converge on Payson for the Fourth Annual Preseason Football Camp. Coolidge, Red Mountain, Yuma Kofa, Glendale Independence and Desert Edge will participate. Payson, however, will not participate, opting instead to hold a team camp prior to the onset of preseason training on Aug. 1.

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TB ranch hosts 4-H Horse Show

The first of three sanctioned 4-H Horse Shows, held at the H4 Ranch in Tonto Basin, drew cowboys and cowgirls from around Gila County. The High Flyin’ 4-H Horse Club in Tonto Basin hosted the show. Members from the Copper Spurs horse club in Globe attended as well as members from the Payson Horse Club.

Cards announce Flagstaff training camp schedule

The Arizona Cardinals have finalized their preseason training camp schedule — meaning fans yearning for a much-needed football fix can begin planning their pilgrimages to the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. The sessions are free of charge and fans can get up close and personal looks at the players and coaches. Also in Flagstaff, many of the players sign autographs.

Wednesday, July 4

K-9 officers present expo July 17

The annual “Dog’ed Daze of Summer, Law Enforcement EXPO and K-9 Demonstration” is planned for Tuesday, July 17.

Celebrate all day July 4th

Payson’s national birthday bash kicks off at 8 a.m., Wednesday, July 4 with a patriotic ceremony to salute to those men and women who have made this a free country. The program includes members of the community reading the Declaration of Independence aloud.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 21: Death on Deer Creek

The time was December 1925 and Jesse Chilson at the Bar-T-Bar Ranch on Deer Creek was wondering why the old prospector had not made his usual trip to the ranch for mail.

Blame ingrown hairs for shaving bumps

I wonder if you will answer my question, which concerns our medical records. Are we, as patients, entitled to request our medical records in order to deliver them to a new doctor?

Independence Day

Every year, Americans across the nation, celebrate the freedom of our land. The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, is mostly commemorated outside with a variety of festive events including barbecues, picnics, family reunions and parades.

Fireflies Can Cook

The Hellsgate Fireflies group — the auxiliary organization of the Hellsgate Fire Department — has just published a cookbook, “Fireflies Can Cook.” The recipes are from members of the auxiliary, their families and friends. There are more than 370 recipes included, with everything from soup to a few nutty entries.

A Santa Barbara break

A few days ago we returned from a week in Santa Barbara, Calif. It is located 90 miles north of Los Angeles.

Rock of Ages

A fun tribute to the myths of rock

I spent the ’80s north of the Arctic Circle, so I do not have the same visceral affection for that decade’s music as some of my friends have, or indeed that I have for the music of the ’60s.

Good 2 Go

Jazz saxophonist Tony Vacca, a nationally known performing and recording artist, will be in concert at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, July 15 at the Payson Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St. This program is starting a half-hour later than the jazz concerts usually start.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The July 7 PATS Hike will be at 8 a.m., starting at the Peach Orchard Trailhead, south of the Payson Golf Course. Originally the hike was to start at the Payson Event Center and go to Peach Orchard Trailhead. The change is due to fire restrictions in Rim Country that include closed trailheads.

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4th of July Arts & Crafts Festival of the Pine/Strawberry Arts & Crafts Guild

The 32nd annual 4th of July Arts & Crafts Festival of the Pine/Strawberry Arts & Crafts Guild was last weekend.

Tuesday, July 3

ASU, Alliance agree to university plan

Final details expected to take ‘weeks’ to iron out, but there’s still no signed agreement

Arizona State University and the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) have agreed in principle to complete their plans to build a university here, but will continue to iron out details for “several weeks,” according to a source close to the negotiations. In addition, supporters of the plan to build a 6,000-student university in Payson have raised enough money that the Forest Service has resumed work on the environmental assessment necessary to buy some 260 acres of land for the college.

Mesa del strikes water deal

An end to Mesa del Caballo’s chronic water shortages is nearing. Recently, the Salt River Project’s board of governors approved an agreement to allow delivery of water from the C.C. Cragin Reservoir to the small community northeast of Payson. The water cannot come soon enough for residents already under strict water restrictions for the summer as Brooke Utilities/ Payson Water Company resorts to hauling water to meet demand, which will dramatically increase water bills.

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Sheriff candidates clash in debate on budget, immigration

Candidates for Gila County sheriff duked it out last week at a Tea Party debate about stopping illegal immigration and using contract workers. The competition among four former sheriff’s office employees remains one of the most hotly contested races in the county. On Thursday, the debate included Democrat Craig Jones and Republicans Darrell Stubbs and Adam Shepherd. Democrat Ray Van Buskirk pulled out at the last minute, said Tea Party organizers.

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Man charged with starting $6 million Sunflower Fire

A Mesa man has been charged with starting the Sunflower Fire south of Payson inadvertently during a bachelor party. A shotgun shell Steven Craig Shiflet, 23, reportedly shot caught the brush on fire May 12 despite he and his friends’ efforts to squelch the flames.

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Fire rages near Blue Ridge, but chance of rain rising

Lightning caused 6,935-acre blaze in Jacks Canyon, but help may come from thunderstorms

Crews struggled with two Rim Country fires over the weekend, the lightning-caused Canyon Fire that charred 6,935 acres 15 miles north of the Blue Ridge Reservoir and the 40-acre Haufer Fire north of Tonto Basin. Neither fire has damaged any structures and crews remain confident they can keep the fires under control, especially with a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain forecast each day this week starting today.

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GCC board votes to request end of one furlough day

Gila Community College (GCC) staff could soon get back one day of pay per month they gave up two years ago to offset budget cuts. On the heels of that request came the welcome news that Gila County’s budget includes $275,000 to help the community college district pay for the upkeep of the buildings the county recently turned over to the college.

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Community Almanac

The 2012 Independence Day Celebration hosted by the Payson Elks Lodge takes place Wednesday, July 4 with food served from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., including hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, potato salad and apple crisp with ice cream and live music from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring the Payson Elks Jam Band.

Stupid is as stupid does

The EPA and administration attempt to destroy the use of fossil fuels, has required the oil refineries to use some material that does not even exist.

Christian school appreciates support

Payson Community Christian School wants to thank all of the golfers, sponsors, and volunteers of the annual Eagle Scramble Golf Tournament.

Patriotism means paying for America

It’s hard to understand why normal, ordinary people defend the rich and privileged.

Lioness Club says thanks

The Payson Lioness Club would like to thank all those who contributed to our Flag Day Veterans Helping Veterans benefit Spaghetti Dinner & Silent Auction, making it a most enjoyable evening for all.

Obamacare

So the Supreme Court just gave its approval for Obamacare.

As viable today as it was then

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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Three seats open for Payson School Board

Three of the five available Payson School Board seats are up for grabs in the November election. Tonto Basin School District has one position out of three and the Pine/Strawberry School District has three out of five positions up for election. Payson Unified School Board (PUSD) president Barbara Underwood, along with members Matt Van Camp and Kim Pound, currently hold the three seats up for election. Underwood says she has picked up an election packet and plans on running. Van Camp says he won’t run again.

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Swartwood tapped as new coach

Ellison steps down after three weeks as head of PHS football program

A man with deep Payson roots is expected to soon become the next Payson High School football coach, replacing Graham Ellison who was officially hired on June 9 and resigned June 28 saying he was leaving for “health reasons.” Jake Swartwood assumed the head coaching duties yesterday, Monday, and is expected to be named the permanent coach at an upcoming board meeting.

Off-season heats up for volleyball players

Payson’s aspiring young volleyball players are using the summer months to fine-tune their skills in preparation for the upcoming middle and high school seasons. The summer agenda has included a junior camp that drew 44 girls of elementary and middle school age as well as an appearance in a 35-team tournament in Lakeside. Also, the high school girls have participated in the All-American Volleyball Camp and will travel this month to tournaments in Florence and later this month host their own summer skirmish.

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Dance lessons at Senior Center start July 10

This month deserves to be in big, bold print. July is filled with activity, excitement, picnics, outdoor sports —and fireworks! Some manmade and some from Mother Nature as the summer storms roll through Rim Country. If you are planning a July wedding, you might want to change your mind — July is The Unlucky Month For Weddings. Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone who was married in July.

Edward Jones ranks No. 1 in client service excellence for the region

Local Edward Jones financial advisors Ross Hage, Deborah Burzynski and Gail Shirk recently received the firm’s Client Service Excellence award for being the No. 1 client service provider in their region and in the top 25 percent of client service providers in the country.

Good time to refinance given historically low interest rates

Freddie Mac has some interesting home mortgage interest rate statistics that give a degree of optimism for those who are entering the home market and a rare opportunity for those who may be interested in refinancing their home. For a period spanning 20 years, from April 1971 to September 1993, 30-year fixed rate mortgages were offered above 7 percent.

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Fossil Creek bass pose threat

Game and Fish may use chemicals to kill non-native fish

Arizona Game and Fish officials think they rounded up most of the non-native smallmouth bass that have invaded the native fish refuge of Fossil Creek — but they’re not absolutely sure. As a result, the Game and Fish Department is now considering a plan to use a fish-killing chemical to remove non-native fish from the lower reaches of the travertine-tinted, spring-fed creek.

The art of beating the heat

The summer swelter set in Saturday afternoon at the Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Fair as dogs panted and stretched their leashes to take advantage of any shade they could find. Yet their owners continued to purchase jewelry, pottery, hand-sewn children’s clothes, and woodcarvings as they strolled up and down the pathways to admire vendors’ wares. The Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild sponsors three craft shows each year on the holiday weekends around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

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Clubs and Organizations

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America will meet at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the American Legion Post #69, located at 709 E. Highway 260. We would like to invite all members to join us.

Sun Devil star shares words from Frank Kush

Former Arizona State University football star Rob Peterson, a member of the Sun Devils’ 1975 undefeated (12-0) and Fiesta Bowl championship team says his twin brother, Tim, also a member of the ’75 team, penned a remembrance in 1995 in which he recalled a speech legendary ASU coach Frank Kush gave 20 years earlier about the time the Arizona State players were to depart for pre-season training at Camp Tontozona.

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Tale of a softball star, and old truck

Around the Rim Country we remember Morgan O’Haver as the affable teenage softball star who waited patiently in the wings as pitching backup to Brenna Zumbo and Rachel Ray before finally receiving her opportunity to shine. When she finally became the Lady Horns’ mound ace in 2005, Morgan made the most of her opportunity, compiling a 15-6 record and leading PHS to second place in the rugged 4A Grand Canyon region.

Sunday, July 1

Jake Swartwood replacing Graham Ellison as the next Payson High School head football coach

Pending school board approval, Jake Swartwood will become the next Payson High School head football coach replacing Graham Ellison who resigned June 29 after being at the helm of the program for about one month.

Payson High School head football coach Graham Ellison resigns

Payson High School head football coach Graham Ellison resigned yesterday, June 28, citing only “health reasons” for stepping down. Ellison was named coach on June 9 replacing Byron Quinlan who left after two years to take a counseling position at a small school in Montana.

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Hoped-for Rim Country monsoons prove all show, no go

Rim Country’s yearned-for monsoons mostly fizzled this week, with near-record heat and dryness setting in once more for the weekend, according to U.S. Weather Service forecasts. Payson has received about one-quarter its normal rainfall since January and the entire Salt and Verde River watersheds have received about half their normal rainfall, making it the 16th driest runoff season in the 114-year-old historical record, according to the Salt River Project.

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Harvesting Hope

Community garden’s first harvest goes to food bank

Payson’s Community Garden turned out its first batch of crops this season Tuesday, providing needed fresh produce to local food banks. Organizers say the inaugural garden has sprouted nicely, fulfilling its mission to help feed the hungry and bring the community together. Along the way, dozens of new friendships have developed and at least one family reunited. It had been years since Lois Grumbo says she had seen her daughter-in-law, much less met her two grandchildren.

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Bear DNA inconclusive

Witness recalls bear attack at campground

DNA testing failed to link any of the three bears killed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department last week after a series of attacks on people near the Ponderosa Campground this month. Additional testing could eventually link one of the bears to the third attack, according to a statement released Thursday. In the meantime, Game and Fish says it has stopped hunting any more black bears pending results. “We changed our methodology,” said Tim Holt, field supervisor with Game and Fish.

Pumps blamed for shutdown

Pine water district has not revealed cause of booster pump failure

The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District is conducting an intensive investigation into what caused water outages to more than 1,000 customers from June 19 until June 23. Officials confirm the investigation is focusing on what caused two booster stations to malfunction, which they have identified as one of the main causes of the outage.

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County helped fight Poco Fire

Water bladders for choppers helped keep the fire from spreading out of control

The resources Gila County made available to help fight the 12,000-acre Poco Fire near Young made a big difference, U.S. Forest Service Incident Commander Matt Reidy told the board of supervisors this week. “We have been so impressed with Gila County. It was prepared and invested and that was so critical in the suppression effort (against the Poco Fire),” Reidy said. “It saved so much time and resources and limited our exposure to risk. County personnel were always present and always helpful. I don’t know how we could have got by without the county,” he said.

Closures continue

Forest restrictions haven’t yet hurt business, say merchants

Two weeks into broad forest closures, rangers report few conflicts with the public, but worrisome violations of the rules. With the tinderbox conditions and drumbeat of news about major wildfires, the last thing a sensible person should want to do is light a campfire in the woods. But never underestimate the battiness of people, say rangers