Stories for June 2012


Friday, June 29

Are the British coming? Who knows

The goal of Payson High School soccer coaches Amy Wilcox and Chris Avakian is to open the 2012 season with a British Soccer Specialist Team Camp. But before that can happen, there are big challenges to overcome for both coaches. Avakian says his reservations about British Soccer hosting a preseason camp July 30 to Aug. 3 center on a lack of field space. The coach says the preferable campsite is the Rumsey Park North multipurpose field, but it is being used camp week by local youth football.

Be proactive this Fourth of July

I woke up this morning thinking about the upcoming Independence Day and I have been inspired to become more proactive toward encouraging more of you to join with me on July 4th.

So far, it’s been a bit scary this summer

The month of June is just about over, but not without some scary moments around Tonto Village. By now everyone knows that there have been three bear attacks within our vicinity and one of those attacks was quite severe. So far, there have been three tracked down by Arizona Game and Fish and killed. One bear was killed on Saturday and two were killed on Sunday. Wherever there are campers and campsites there are the signs posted to be aware of bears — But who pays attention?

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Little League tips off Monday

Payson Little League baseball and softball teams spent the past week practicing and gearing up for what local coaches, players and fans hope are deep runs into area, district and state tournaments. Of course, each team’s eventual goal is to win the Payson program’s first-ever state championship. Payson is a member of Area I and District I, which includes mostly Northern Arizona teams.

Supreme Court sets off frenzy of political spin

A pair of split Supreme Court rulings this week handed the Obama Administration a perhaps surprising victory, provoking a positive frenzy of political spinning that drew sharp distinctions between various candidates in Rim Country races. The Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision on Arizona’s “check your papers” SB 1070 and the federal Health Care Reform Act. Both sides seem to think the rulings will prove crucial in the upcoming elections, judging from the fury and the density and predictable partisan spin the two decisions inspired from local candidates this week.

Mogollon Health Alliance needs volunteers

The Mogollon Health Alliance is looking for good men and women to join the fun of sharing time within the community by volunteering time each week. Current areas to volunteer include The Almost New Thrift Shop, Arts & Crafts, La Boutique Gift Shop, Hospitality, Information Desk, and Patient Services.

Christopher Creek residents hear report on Poco Fire

Hello again, fellow Creekers. There was a Poco Fire briefing at the Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department Station 51 in Christopher Creek Wednesday, June 20. Tommie Martin, Gila County Board of Supervisors chair, was present to explain the county’s role in the fighting of the Poco Fire. Martin explained that the county had to declare an emergency in order to free up funds for the county and associated agencies to acquire and spend funds for restoration and evacuations if needed.

Payson shut out in all-star classic

Payson High’s reputation for turning out all-star caliber football players took a big hit June 22, when not a single Longhorn played in the Arizona Football Coaches Association Division IV vs. Division V-VI all-star game in Surprise Stadium. Being shut out is in sharp contrast to past seasons when several Longhorns were usually invited to play and often excelled. In 2006, Luke Apfel was named the star clash’s most valuable player finishing, with 120 yards rushing, 68 of which came on a game-opening TD run.

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Yellow Jacket signs to play for Sun Devils

One of the finest football players to ever don a small-town Arizona uniform appears to be on his way to becoming a Sun Devil. Reportedly, Blue Ridge’s 6-foot, 3-inch, 235-pound Chans Cox has committed to Arizona State University after being recruited by several other Division I universities. Cox, an honor roll student, will play this season for the Yellow Jackets, graduate at mid-year and enroll at ASU next spring so he can play spring football for new coach Todd Graham. There are those predicting Cox is good enough to contribute to the Sun Devil effort as a freshman in 2013.

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Initiative signatures rejected on technicality

Another challenging year ahead for schools

Relying on a technicality, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett rejected almost 300,000 signatures gathered by the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative on June 25, the campaign reported in a press release. Despite the huge number of signatures gathered, Bennett’s decision to reject the gathered signatures will likely keep off the ballot the initiative to add one cent to the sales tax to generate more than a billion a year for schools and highways.

Fourth of July safety tips for pets

It’s almost that time! The 4th of July is less than a week away. It’s time to start planning for the celebration, but don’t forget to include safety plans for your pets. • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.

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Health care providers learn new wound care

Caring for large wounds that refuse to heal challenges health care providers and leaves many patients in agony. Payson Care Center introduced Rim health care professionals to a new, safer way of wound care and one that causes much less stress for patients. Payson Care hosted Dr. Patrick Marasco for a couple of days the week of June 18. Marasco, a Massachusetts general and plastic surgeon, has created a that system cleans wounds in a contained environment, which is safer for the provider and less painful for the patient. It’s called PulseCare™ Closed Pulse Irrigation™.

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Club Rim season wraps up

Club Rim founder and co-coach Donna Moore is touting the local volleyball teams’ season-long accomplishments. Among the organization’s most impressive feats was sending the 18-year-old team to the Southern California Volleyball Tournament March 16 to 18 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Community Almanac

This coming weekend, the Regional Payson Area Project… for a Fire Wise Rim Country (RPAP) will be staffing only one free brush drop-off point, weather permitting. Saturday, June 30 the Blattner Pit will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Blattner Pit is located at Milepost 259.7 on Highway 260, east of Payson.

Concerts in the park are great entertainment

With all the weddings and parties for which to play, Ann and I often don’t have many free Saturday evenings from April through November. But this past Saturday night we found ourselves with an open date in our schedule, which gave us the opportunity to mosey on over to Green Valley Park for the free Saturday night concert that featured the Phoenix-based band Breaking Point.

Sensitive dog has tender heart

I am a volunteer who has worked with Day Day for a while. I love this dog and want you to know her spirit as I have come to know her. Day Day has lived at the Humane Society of Central Arizona animal shelter for eight months, having been rescued from abuse. In the safety of this environment and in the hands of loving staff members, she readily bonded with all of them and her loving, sweet nature revealed itself.

PSWID board frustrates this homeowner

I have received a public notice that I must curtail the water use at my property in Strawberry.

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Kick off the holiday early in Pine

Guests looking to start the Fourth of July festivities early can kick things off in Pine this weekend at the Arts and Crafts Guild 32nd annual 4th of July Arts and Crafts Festival. If the Rim Country is on your holiday agenda, you don’t want to miss this event in Arizona’s historic mountain paradise. To alleviate any concerns — I assure you, we have drinking water.

Clubs and Organizations

The Payson Flycasters Club will meet Saturday, June 30 at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260. Breakfast is at 8 a.m. and the meeting starts at 9 a.m. The speaker will be Julie Carter from the Arizona Game and Fish Dept. She will be discussing all aspects of the trout population in Arizona as well as other types of fish. All interested anglers and the general public are invited to attend this very informative program.

County could have $96M budget

Tentative numbers get approval, final decision to be made in mid-July

Expecting no increase in property tax revenues, county staff brought a $96 million budget to the board of supervisors Tuesday. The board approved the tentative numbers, which total $96,468,130 and reflect a reduction in expenditures needed to maintain existing programs by an average of 5 percent. The board set a July 17 public hearing for a final hearing on the budget.

Casey O’Brien: a life of service

Sometime today, Superintendent of the Payson Unified School District, Casey O’Brien, will lay down the heavy weight of responsibility for 2,400 children and walk through his office doors for the last time. He has seen the Payson schools through great growth and terrible challenges. He helped to build a new school and close an old one. His tenure encompassed scrambling to find room for a burgeoning enrollment to triage budget losses and the loss of students.

Biologists speculate on reasons for rash of bear attacks

None of the three bears Game and Fish employees killed recently had rabies test show, which some officials feared might be the cause of their unusually aggressive behavior. State authorities are still waiting for DNA results to confirm whether any of the three bears killed by a federal contract hunter were involved in the three attacks on humans some 12 miles northeast of Payson.

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Realtors invest in campus

The Central Arizona Board of Realtors (CABOR) has donated $25,000 to the Rim Country Educational Foundation in hopes of helping move the Payson university project forward. The funds guarantee two anonymous matching fund donations of $12,500 each will go toward the environmental impact study the Forest Service needs to sell land to the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) for the college.

Bold policy setters?

Thanks so much for your increased coverage of the Payson School Board.

Despite cuts, Time Out will continue to provide shelter

Well it has been quite a week at Time Out Shelter!

When are we most honest? When dead scared

Bill Cosby is just about my favorite all-time comic. On one of his tapes, when talking about himself and the kids he knew, he said that he became convinced early in life that the one time people were completely honest was when they were dead scared.  I agree, but the problem with being dead scared is that a moment that may seem dead serious to you can be funny as hell to others. And there’s no way to live it down afterward. Sooner or later, some genius is sure to say, “Man! You should have seen Tom the day that ...”

ADE definition of a class

This letter is to John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Attack interventions

My compliments to the Arizona Game and Fish people as well as the U.S. Forest Service for their handling of the bear incidents at Ponderosa Campground and Tonto Village.

Thursday, June 28

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Payson schools to start sex education program

Board approves state-funded program for ninth-graders

Attempting to counter one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state, the Payson School Board Monday approved an eight-week sex education program for freshmen to start in the fall. Gila County Teen Pregnancy Coordinator Nancy Rutherford will conduct the twice-a-week sessions, which will substitute for physical education classes. Rutherford told the board the program would stress that abstaining from sex remains the only sure-proof way to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, but will also make sure students know about birth control options. “Abstinence is what’s promoted as safest” but the 16 sessions will offer a comprehensive approach, said Rutherford.

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Extracurricular activities yield benefits

Payson schools have forced most extracurricular programs to charge fees and seek donations to cover their own costs. However, a growing body of research demonstrates that such programs often yield far greater academic gains than many traditional classroom activities.

Wednesday, June 27

Toddler dies: ‘A grandparent’s worst nightmare’

A toddler died early Friday morning when officials say he rolled off a bed at his grandparents’ Star Valley home and got lodged between the mattress and footboard. Paramedics tried briefly to revive Brendan, but believe he had passed hours before his grandmother discovered him, said Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch. Brendan was reportedly visiting his grandparents for two weeks at their Star Valley home. Brendan, from the Valley, reportedly took turns visiting his grandparents, who are in their 40s, with his two other siblings.

Barbecue claims SV home

An alert neighbor probably saved lives when for the third time in a month an untended patio grill sparked a house fire in Star Valley. The deck on a hilltop two-story home ignited early Friday morning when a propane grill was left on high inadvertently for several hours. Frantic efforts by the homeowner and neighbor Jim Carlen to douse the flames with garden hoses likely kept it from spreading to the attic and destroying the house on East Pine Canyon Road, said Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch. “Between the two of them, they saved the home,” he said.

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Schools out $210,000

State: middle school class isn’t really a class

The Payson school district has agreed to return $210,000 to the Arizona Department of Education for a program that district officials say helped students but that state officials didn’t count as a class. Auditors from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) decided Payson schools state money spent on an innovative class that helped children who fell behind in school didn’t qualify as a class under state rules. “This began a little over a year ago when auditors from the ADE came to look at attendance issues,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

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Payson sells golf courses water

Town now needs water customers to help offset pipeline

Worried about paying the bill for the Blue Ridge pipeline without big water rate increases, the Payson council last week approved a deal worth as much as $100,000 to sell two private golf courses perhaps 50 acre-feet of water.

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Heroic boy saves mother

Fire department award goes to quick-thinking boy after accident

A terrifying accident could have produced the most dispiriting of tragedies. Instead, it produced a most inspiring young hero — 10-year-old Bradley Mitchell who emerged from the crumbled wreck to rescue his two younger siblings, flagged down a motorist to get help, then went back to search for his mother — who had been ejected from the car. Once he found her, he gave her CPR — and saved her life. So when local and Valley firefighters heard the little hero was suffering from nightmares about the December accident on Highway 87, they staged a ceremony to honor the fourth-grader for his life-saving actions.

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Bear mauls camper in 3rd attack

Hunters kill three bears in effort to halt rare rash of attacks

Following an unprecedented string of three bear attacks in campgrounds and subdivisions near Tonto Creek, federal trackers have killed three black bears and the U.S. Forest Service has shut down three campgrounds until further notice. Officials won’t know until at least Thursday when they get the results of DNA tests whether any of the three bears killed were involved in the attacks, but dogs tracked all three from near the Ponderosa Campground.

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Small changes to save on health care expenses

If you’re like many Americans, your health care is taking a major bite out of your paycheck. According to the Organization for Economic Development, the average American spends $7,960 on health care annually, representing nearly 20 percent of the average U.S. income of $40,000.

Payson Care scores high with patients

As the first Life Care Centers of America skilled nursing facility built in Arizona, Payson Care Center has served the Rim Country since 1986. Employing over 150 local healthcare professionals, Payson Care Center is committed to a sense of family, community and exceptional care.

PRMC’s Senior Circle is the place to be

Payson Regional Medical Center’s Senior Circle is one of the fastest growing groups in town. Membership is only $15 a year and the benefits are enormous.

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Welcome to the Summer Senior Review

The Rim Country is called home by an ever-growing population of seniors — remember the generally accepted age for the beginning of our golden years is about 50. There are all kinds of activities and services especially designed to meet the needs of the newly minted seniors and those who have enjoyed the venerable status for a while.

Crucial facts about chronic care, long life plan

The Wall Street Journal noted in its June 11, 2012 issue, “A 65-year-old man has a 60 percent chance of living to age 80, and a 40 percent chance of reaching 85. For women, the odds are 71 percent and 53 percent respectively. All of this has made the 85-and-over age bracket the fastest-growing segment of the population.”

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Payson Senior Center offers a variety of activities for members

The Payson Senior Center Activity Program is built from many aspects. The goal of the Senior Center staff is to identify and develop a wide variety of activities and events that suit the needs of seniors 50 and older in the Payson area in a fun and healthy atmosphere.

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Valuable volunteers

Russ and Helen Christofferson are the Senior Center’s volunteers of the month for May. Senior Center volunteers are the heart of the facility’s community programs. Many of the services provided would not be possible were it not for the volunteers.

Make the Senior Center part of your tax plan

Arizona tax law provides a tax credit for contributions made to certain charities that provide assistance to the working poor. Payson Senior Center is an approved 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that has been helping Rim Country seniors and disabled for 27 years in achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency with dignity and offering choices of appropriate care by providing a wide range of community and home-based services.

Health law changes may save seniors billions

Under the new Affordable Care Act, seniors and people with disabilities in Medicare have so far saved a total of $3.5 billion on prescription drugs in the Medicare drug benefit coverage gap or “donut hole.” The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data last week showing that in the first four months of 2012 alone more than 416,000 people saved an average of $724 each on the prescription drugs they purchased after they hit the prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole.”

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A time for adventure

Women are on the move — especially women of the Baby Boomer generation. If you’ve felt the urge to see different places and experience a new adventure, you’re not alone. The Travel Industry Association estimates that 32 million single American women traveled at least once last year — and a lot of them were Boomers.

Senior safety: preventing slips, trips and falls

As we age, time takes its toll on the bodily systems that keep us balanced, making us more prone to dangerous slips, trips and falls. And while a fall can be a life-changing or even life-threatening event for an older adult, reducing one’s risk is easy.

Realistic, livable tips for a healthy lifestyle

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the past 20 years, the diets of most Americans have changed to consuming too many calories and too few nutrients. This type of diet leads to weight gain — 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese — and 9 out of 10 Americans fall short of many essential nutrients in their diets.

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Know the signs of heart failure

It’s possible you or a loved one could be suffering from one of the most common and often misdiagnosed heart conditions, and not know it. According to the Heart Failure Society of America, five million Americans are affected by heart failure and many more may have the condition but are unaware. As such, it’s a great time to learn about heart failure and its symptoms, and what to do to stay heart healthy.

Tuesday, June 26

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Forest Road 512 Opens after Poco Fire

Containment at 75%

The Central West Zone Interagency Type 3 Team resources have completed rehabilitation tasks on the Poco Fire, northeast of Young, Arizona, including grading Forest Road 512 that connects travelers from the Payson area off of State Route 260 south to Young. Barring no new fire starts, FR 512 (Young Rd.) opens at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Wish letter writers were a little more careful with facts

In reference to Wendy Trainor’s letter of 19 June — She provides no documentation for her allegations and conveniently ignores the contributions from all of the various unions that supported Gov. Walker’s opponent.

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Clubs and Organizations

The Rim Country Cowboy Church meets at 6 p.m. every Wednesday at Star Valley Baptist Church, 4180 E. Highway 260, Star Valley. The service includes live music by the Country Gospel Misfits. For more information, call (928) 474-5557.

Ways to control irregular heartbeat

I’m a 34-year-old male and am going bald. What is your opinion on hair transplants? Do they last? How successful are they?

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Pack a Perfect Picnic

Food always seems to taste better when enjoyed outdoors. No matter the occasion or location, these packable, snackable recipes are foods fit for a fabulous picnic. Bean Salad Stuffed Shells are a simple, flavorful, portable appetizer. Jumbo shells filled with a can of 3- or 4-bean salad, herbs and cheese make great finger food.

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Bear attack victim No. 2 back at work

A man bitten by a bear Thursday night was back to work Monday, just feet from the site of the attack. Jason Amperse, 29, is the second of three people attacked by a black bear in recent weeks. Amperse sustained only minor injuries — two small puncture wounds on his calf and a few scratches. On May 31, a bear took a swipe at a 74-year-old woman sleeping in a tent in Ponderosa Campground, cutting her scalp. Then on Sunday morning, a bear mauled another camper in the same campground, this time nearly killing him before campers could scare it off.

A bridge to somewhere... (maybe)

Residents of Tonto Basin take their pleas for a bridge to Congress

A mother clings to the handle on her baby’s car seat to keep it from rocking violently. A dozen school children clutch the side railings of a military truck. Aerial video pans across a vista of trapped, water-logged vehicles. These images haunt a four-minute video montage that documents the floods of Tonto Creek. Residents hope the video will help spur federal officials to fork over millions needed to build a bridge in Tonto Basin — a bridge to somewhere, they call it. Barb Godbold recently created the video of news clips for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Flagstaff) to show members of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Godbold said she hopes the video will help secure the $20 million needed to build the bridge.

The 1961 Roberts Fire

In 1961 this region was hit by two significant wildfires, both of which had fatalities, and both of which were located in the heart of the area Zane Grey frequented. The Roberts Fire was human caused and started June 15, 1961. Just after it was brought under control, lightning started the Hatchery Fire.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The annual Summer Concert Series by the Payson parks department features a free program at 7 p.m. every Saturday from through July 28. The concerts are held in the amphitheater area of Green Valley Park where the audience can bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the show.

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Still waters

Paddleboarding experience leads to unknown peace

I have tried calming my chi with yogis. I carry a yoga mat in my car. I have learned how to sit motionless for hours, and I even have an app on my Kindle that guides me through calming meditational scenes. But nothing has come close to the peace I found floating on an inflatable lime green paddleboard.

Pass the Highway Bill now

The Highway Bill is an important part of regular business for the legislators in Washington to do.

Much of anti-Obama talk is race motivated

I was motivated to write when I read the opening paragraph about references to Bush about Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Letter carriers say thanks

Once again we would like to thank the people of Payson for their generous response to our 2012 food drive.

Bad attitudes

The attitudes expressed in Larry Brophy’s recent letter are exactly why America is in the economic, political, moral and social mess that it is in.

Schools strangling on state’s red tape

Our schools are kicking, twisting and slowly dying at the end of a hangman’s noose of red tape. Both the state and federal governments have cinched the noose tight, then admonished the strangled schools not to twitch so much — it’ll upset the children. Maybe you think we’re overstating the case. If so, perhaps you can explain the Arizona Department of Education’s absurd insistence that the Payson Unified School District return $210,000 for middle school kids who last year attended Achieve Hour — an innovative local attempt to help struggling students.

Sex offender now lives in Tonto Basin

Sex offender Tylor Joseph Wilson, 19, notified the Gila County Sheriff’s Office recently that he is living on Reno Drive in Tonto Basin after living in Payson briefly. Wilson is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 155 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. Wilson does not have a vehicle. When he was 17, Wilson pleaded guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual assault. According to police, in 2009 Wilson and a 14-year-old female went into a dugout at Payson High School. In the dugout, Wilson pushed the teen against a wall, forcibly kissed her and digitally penetrated her.

Off-season training key to football success

As a first-year varsity head football coach in 1983 I often wondered if players and parents really understood the value of off-season training and conditioning. Those minutes of speculation usually occurred as I was sitting mostly alone in the school weight room hoping players would show up for the summer program. As the years passed, I learned I wasn’t the only coach more than a bit disgruntled that players weren’t taking advantage of the off-season program. Even more disheartening was learning that their parents weren’t encouraging their sons to participate.

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Young to lead baseball program

Brian Young figures he’s paid his dues and is primed and ready for his first try at meeting the challenges of running a high school baseball program. “I’m excited and ready to get started,” he said only days after the PUSD governing board officially hired him as the next Longhorn baseball coach replacing Scott Novack who resigned at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Young, an English teacher at PHS, has worked the past seven years as the junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant to both Jerry Daniels and Novack.

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Bases loaded!

Payson hosts Little League tournaments next week

Rumsey Park will soon become a hotbed of Little League postseason play with teams from around Arizona converging on the softball and baseball diamonds to battle for the Area 1 championship and the right to advance to the district playoffs and possibly the state tournament. Payson has been selected to host three area tournaments — 10-11-year-old girls fast pitch; 11-12-year-old boys baseball and juniors (13-year-olds) baseball. Girls softball games will be played on Rumsey 1, the 11-12-year-olds baseball tournament is on Rumsey III and juniors baseball is on the Kiwanis East field.

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Knocking out concussions is goal of youth athletics

Football league buys new, state-of-the-art helmets for youths

How to prevent concussions and the damage they do to athletes is the hottest and most controversial topic on today’s youth sports scene, especially in football. New videos are constantly being released showing the danger of hard hits, coaches are required to take classes on recognizing concussions, some states go so far as to require coaches to take tests and medical advisory boards have been formed to weigh in on concussions.

Farmers Market humming with hummus

Shoppers return for home-grown goods, jams with a kick

Trundling past its first hiccup of the new season, the Payson Farmers Market bustled last Saturday with shoppers, vendors, music and tiny ponies. “Our largest farmer canceled today because of a death in the family,” said Lorian Roethlein. “He takes up three stalls.” Usually Lorian and her husband, John, would have to handle the issue by themselves, but their partnership with Katie and Joe Klein has allowed them to relax.

Summer gardening workshop

Hear what Gila County Master Gardeners have to say about summer gardening at a workshop from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, June 25 at the Payson Masonic Lodge, 200 E. Rancho Road, Payson.

Good 2 Go

First Southern Baptist Church is presenting Amazing Aviation during its vacation Bible school program, June 18 through June 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The program is for pre-kindergarten aged youth through those who are 13. First Southern Baptist Church is at the corner of West Bonita Street and South Colcord. Call (928) 474-3374 for more information.

Community Almanac

Mike Clark, former commander of a unit that was part of Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras, will be the guest speaker at the Rim Country Foreign Policy Forum at noon, Wednesday, June 27 at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St. The unit was responsible for aviation training to the Honduran and Guatemalan Army during the period that Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas were in power in Nicaragua.

School fees for activities still high

Sports, music, drama, other activities now almost entirely self supporting

The Payson School Board this week adopted fees for a bewildering array of activities, ensuring that once again, almost every extracurricular program in the school will rely on donations and fees rather than taxpayer funding. Superintendent Casey O’Brien confirmed on Monday that preliminary figures suggest that fees paid by students and parents, money raised by booster clubs and donations to Credit for Kids paid almost all the costs of the sports, music, drama and other extracurricular programs at the high school and the middle school — including the stipends paid to teachers and coaches. O’Brien said only money for buses and transportation still comes out of the district’s general operations budget in support of sports and other extracurricular programs.

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Crews now mopping up Poco Fire near Young

Forest Service begins pulling crews off the fire line with 65 percent containment

Crews continued to labor over the weekend to contain and start mopping up the 11,950-acre Poco Fire that started on June 14 from human causes about six miles northeast of Young. Crews had the fire 65 percent contained on Monday, with fire lines holding over the weekend. The fire essentially trapped itself by burning through the heavy brush and ponderosa pine forest up against the Bull Fire, which scorched the area farther to the north earlier this spring. Crews got a break as the buildup of moisture and the faint start of monsoon conditions boosted humidity to 21 percent and cooled the temperature down into the 70s and 80s.

Let’s ride the train

There was a time when trains traveled the length and breadth of the United States. These were the likes of Superchief, Broadway Limited, 20th Century Limited, Sunset Limited, North Coast Limited, California Zephyr, City of Los Angeles, Daylight and so many more. The hey-day for American trains was from 1945 through 1960. This was a period when American railroads put into service new and streamlined lightweight equipment. The trains were the finest on rails.

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Star Valley man imagines life after Alcatraz

Local author writes novel speculating on the fate of the escapees his father’s book made famous

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,” which inspired a successful movie starring Clint Eastwood. 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. A couple of years ago he attended a book signing by Michael Connelly, author of award-winning detective novels including those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch and criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller. Connelly was the president of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004 Bruce said Connelly gave the age-old advice, “Write what you know.”

Monday, June 25

Third bear attack in a month

Following an unprecedented string of three bear attacks in campgrounds and subdivisions near Tonto Creek, federal trackers have killed three black bears and the U.S. Forest Service has shut down three campgrounds until further notice. Officials won’t know until at least Thursday when they get the results of DNA tests whether any of the three bears killed were involved in the attacks, but dogs tracked all three from near the Ponderosa Campground.

Friday, June 22

Pine customers get OK to resume water use

Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District officials are pleased to announce that service has been restored throughout the system, reserve supplies are returning to normal levels and laboratory analysis of water samples indicates that the water is safe for consumption, so customers in the Pine area may resume normal use.

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Bear attack at Tonto Village near Payson

Valley man sustains non-life-threatening injuries

An Arizona man was injured last night when a bear bit his lower leg while he was sleeping on a cot in a cabin under construction in Tonto Village, east of Payson.

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Alliance, ASU narrow differences

Project’s prospects brighten as negotiators make big strides and donations pick up

Arizona State University and the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) narrowed their differences to two key issues and each side has agreed to respond to the proposed solutions by July 2, Payson Mayor Kenny Evans revealed at a Town Hall meeting on Thursday morning. In addition, the Rim Country Educational Foundation and the Alliance have now raised $80,000 to help cover preliminary costs needed to buy some 260 acres of Forest Service land. Last week, the figure stood at $50,000.

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Fire Danger closes forests

Fossil Creek, portion of Roosevelt Lake restricted

It finally happened: Forest officials Thursday closed most of the forest north of Payson up to the Mogollon Rim due to extreme fire danger. A large swath of land remains open for public recreation, however, including most campgrounds south of Highway 260, the Tonto Natural Bridge and parts of the Hellsgate and Mazatzal Wilderness. However, the closure order also includes a big area south of town between Highways 87 and 188, including a portion of the southern shore of Roosevelt Lake. The closure order also includes all of Fossil Creek Canyon.

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Firefighters brief residents on efforts to contain Poco Fire

A packed crowd alarmed by a week of smoke and fear heaved a collective sigh Wednesday night in Heber-Overgaard after fire officials assured them that the 12,000-acre Poco Fire is still more than 20 miles away from the community of 3,000. However, the fire continues to grow and spew smoke, which could affect breathing and health.

Monsoons to the rescue?

The week’s heat spell could end this weekend with forecasters predicting an early start to the monsoons. Rim Country has a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms Sunday night and a 30 percent chance Monday, say forecasters. A little moisture would help firefighters working the Poco Fire near Young, but the expected wind gusts could also spell trouble, said Brian Klimowski with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

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Pine water system shut down

1,000 residents may get water back today after 3-day outage

The 1,000 Pine residents without water since Wednesday will hopefully get service back late this afternoon, said CH2MHill Regional Vice President Robert Kuta. A still undisclosed problem knocked out service to about a third of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District’s customers on Wednesday, prompting the district to issue health warnings and appeal to all its customers to reduce usage. A June 19 notice to affected customers in 14 subdivisions scattered around the tiny mountain hamlet blamed the outage on “a combination of mechanical issues, drought conditions and increased demand.”

Payson’s property tax rate inches upward

Property values down. Property taxes up. Once again, beleaguered homeowners are caught in a disorienting trap, as local government agencies ramp up the property tax rate to compensate for a sag in property values and a loss of state support. The Payson Town Council Thursday night became the latest governing board to raise the property tax rate — although the town’s cut of the property tax bill is so small that most homeowners won’t notice the increase.

Community Almanac

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has an annual nationwide Field Day event each summer. This event consists of members of amateur radio groups taking equipment to the field and exercising their capabilities. One such group of hams is the local 4x4 Ham group and it will be operating a station on the Rim. Non-radio folks are invited to attend and learn about amateur ham radio. The public is invited to join the 4x4 Ham group for ARRL Field Day June 22-24.

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Tontozona gets facelift

Field preparation and new technology part of upgrade

While Sun Devil Athletic Operations and Facilities (AOF) officials are directing improvements at Camp Tontozona, a local committee chaired by John Stanton is discussing ways to make players, coaches, team followers and the media feel welcome when they visit the school’s famed football training facility for preseason camp Aug. 14 to 18. Brad Johnson, ASU’s ground facilities manager, has started work on Tontozona’s main practice field that had been mostly neglected since the Sun Devils stopped training at the camp in 2007.

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Pikes to host Prescott at Taylor Pool

Coach says Pirates will test skills of Payson swimmers

Payson Pikes swim team coach Sean Ford is predicting the Prescott Pirates team that travels to Taylor Pool tomorrow, June 23, for a dual meet will be a talented one that’s sure to test the skills of Payson’s swimmers. The Pirates are a year-round United States Swimming Association-sanctioned team that has the advantage of an indoor pool to practice and compete in. The Pikes are a summer-only recreational team, which means the Payson squad could be at a disadvantage.

Kudos to the P/S water company

Recently (Wednesday, June 13) there was a break in the main water line during the construction on Pine Creek Canyon Road.

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Little anglers bound for Roosevelt

Western Outdoor News (WON) Arizona “Little Angler” fishing debuts tomorrow, June 23, with the first of three summer tournaments to be held at Roosevelt Lake. Others will be held July 28 and Aug. 25. Little Angler tournaments are specifically designed for boys and girls 13 years of age and under but they must be accompanied by an adult or “Big Angler” who is 14 years or older. WON Arizona Tournament Director Tracy Purtee predicts the first-ever tournaments, “Will be fun all the while giving kids a taste of tournament fishing.”

Fund-raiser for man battling brain cancer

I am writing this letter as a representative of the Rim Country Optimist Club.

Flores’ comments appalling

I was encouraged by the non-biased reporting of the governor’s denial of clemency in the Flibotte trial that appeared in the paper of June 5.

Forests are the air we breathe

You can be handsome. You can be charming. You can have prospects. You can have big plans. But here’s the thing: Five minutes without air and you’ve got nothing at all. Well, for Rim Country — the forests remain the air that we breathe.

Watch out for snakes while fishing

Who turned up the thermostat? That sun is extremely strong. I hope that everyone is wearing sun block. Since Sunday was Father’s Day, my hubby wanted to go fishing, and wow, the heat and sun wore him out pretty fast. He did have a good time and he did land a few fish, enough for a good meal. One word of caution as you fish: be aware of your surroundings because of snakes.

Clubs and Organizations

This group has no dues or age restrictions. The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Bunch meets at Tiny’s Restaurant at 9 a.m. every week, to visit and plan future activities. On the schedule: 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 23 Concert in the Park with Breaking Point performing.

Meet Our Adoptable Pets

The pets featured below are just some of the many wonderful animals currently available for adoption from the Humane Society of Central Arizona. All have been spayed/neutered and are current on their vaccinations.

Music for when things heat up

It’s here again! And it probably will be for the next two-and-a-half months. The heat of the summer has once again bullied its way into our state, pinning us down with its oppressive, suffocating blanket of sizzle. The one-hit-wonder band, Buster Poindexter and his Banshees of Blue, must have been thinking of us in the summertime of the sweltering Arizona heat when it produced the 1988 hit “Hot Hot Hot!” Maybe our Southwestern “dry” heat was on the mind of the group, Foreigner, when it wrote its 1991 song, “Unusual Heat.”

Christopher Creek FD helps MDA campers

Hello again fellow Creekers. On June 6, 2012 the Muscular Dystrophy Association came to Whispering Hope Ranch located on Colcord Road 27 miles east of Payson. The children had a wonderful time interacting with the animals and just having fun. Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department helped out with the fun, letting the youngsters squirt water with the fire hoses. Even Chief Rob Jarvis was not exempt from the “big squirt guns” along with many others.

Wonder why you like some people and dislike others?

There have been times during my life when my brain got backed up and needed a plunger. Or maybe even a RotoRooter. Really. I would think about something and come to a conclusion that any sane person would toss out in two seconds. An example? While in high school I decided that I had two “best” friends. Obviously, it is impossible to have two best friends, but that didn’t matter to my teenage birdbrain. I decided I had two best friends, and that was that. And please do not ask me how I came to that conclusion. Have you ever looked into a teenage mind? It’s about as organized as a frying pan full of maggots.

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Payson to host NAYFL playoffs

Payson has been tapped the host town for an entire slate of Northern Arizona Youth Football League playoff and championship games to be played in late October. Which means, Rim Country teams will have the all-important home field advantage in the battle for postseason honors. But before coaches, players and parents can begin dreaming of association championships, there’s the matter of registration, practices and regular season games to be taken care of.

PRMC a true prize

Like Coleen MacLeod, I too have heard and read criticism of Payson Regional Medical Center.

It’s all nonsense

A Roundup reader laments that people (liberals) want to force their way of life on him.

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Voters need to give OK to sell Frontier Elementary

Should the Payson Unified School District sell Frontier Elementary School? That’s the question the district will put to the voters in November as a result of the school board’s action on Monday. The ballot measure will seek authorization from the voters to sell the site closed to save money last year, but that doesn’t mean the district actually will sell the school. Superintendent Casey O’Brien told a reluctant school board that the clearance from the voters would simply give the district the latitude to respond to an offer or changing conditions in the future. State law requires voter approval before the district can dispose of a school site.

Thanks from Kaitie’s Closet

Once again it is time to thank our Kaitie’s Closet volunteers for all of their hard work and devotion during the last year.

A belated thank you

Our town has many events that would not be successful without the support of our volunteers and our business community.

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Local churches offer encouragement

We’ve all seen the dismal statistics for unemployment and child poverty in our county. Most of us know someone who is unable to find work or is underemployed. Even someone with a positive outlook can find themselves experiencing loneliness, stress, worry, depression and even despair. You don’t have to look very far to find a supportive friend. Churches, like all of us, come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. While no two are exactly alike, all share a common purpose: to help the people in the communities they serve.

NAU a fantastic venue for Cards’ training camp

ESPN’s Mike Sando recently called Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff one of the best training camp venues in the National Football League. In an online magazine article for Sports Illustrated, Peter King ranked the Cardinals training camp third in his article, “My top five training camps: Places to get up close and personal with NFL.”

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Brewer, Schaal win Memorial Tournament

The May highlight for the Payson Women’s Golf Association is the annual Memorial Tournament. The members pick a partner and play a best ball format. The 2012 Memorial was held May 29, with the team of Earlene Brewer and Marilyn Schaal taking first place. Taking second was Mary Jones and Jeannie Griffin, followed by the team of Mary Cain and Judy McFall in third. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Claudia Bullard and Jeannie Griffin.

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School board debates new rule on nepotism

After spirited discussion, board postpones vote on allowing spouses to work on same campus

The Payson School Board Monday after a spirited debate voted to drop a political hot potato in the lap of incoming Superintendent Ron Hitchcock. The issue centers on a proposed change in the district policy about letting husbands and wives work at the same school, a perhaps surprisingly common situation in small rural schools like Payson. Outgoing Payson High School Principal Kathe Ketchem, whose husband at one time also worked at the same school site, said a rural district couldn’t afford to drive off families in which both the husband and wife worked in education.

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Climate shifts may spur big rise in wildfires

Latest computerized climate models predict sharp rise in fires in southwest

This year’s frightening fire season in Rim Country may become the new normal, according to several recent attempts to predict how the ongoing warming trend will affect wildfire season in the Southwest. The most recent evidence involves a compilation of 16 different computerized climate models, which predicts a sharp rise in major wildfires in the American Southwest in the next 30 years, according to the study published in Ecosphere. The explosion in wildfires has driven the U.S. Forest Service’s budget for fighting fires to $1.5 billion annually.

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Star Valley’s budget features huge reserve fund

Council likes budget format that puts off decisions on major water, road projects

The Star Valley Town Council Tuesday expressed satisfaction with a budget for fiscal 2012-13 that includes money to run and upgrade its new water company and a big reserve fund to fund still unspecified projects. The town remains in far better shape than most, thanks to state formulas that have rewarded it for population growth and revenue coming in from traffic ticket cameras at both ends of town. The town each year brings in between $300,000 and $400,000 more than it needs for ongoing operations, giving it money for special projects.

Disturbed man holds relative at gunpoint

Police arrest Gulf War vet with history of mental problems after he flees to Kingman

After a weeklong search, police arrested a Gulf War veteran after he allegedly held a family member at gunpoint. Mitchell Owens, 49, of Payson, will face aggravated assault charges when he arrives back in Gila County. Owens fled to Kingman after reportedly holding a family member at gunpoint for several hours, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler.

2008 Payson graduate earns doctorate

Katie C. Carpenter, a 2003 Payson High School graduate and the daughter of Ross and Shari Carpenter, has just received her doctorate at the University of Houston in kinesiology. She was also the 2012 American Kinesiology Association Graduate Scholar Award winner.

Forest Service frets about many causes of wildfires

Besides lightning, the Forest Service faces several other challenges in limiting forest fires. Paige Rockett, Tonto National Forest spokesperson, detailed four of those: Campfires: Since mid-May, the Forest Service has been restricting campfires. Those restrictions were elevated to the use of charcoal fires only in developed campgrounds and only in two of the forest’s desert districts. Except for these specific developed recreation sites, campfires are prohibited in the entire forest.

Wednesday, June 20

Pine Strawberry District drinking water challenges ongoing

Pine Strawberry District dealing with water outage Mechanical issues, drought, demand hinder service to approximately 1,000 Homes June 20, 2012 – The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District is experiencing a service outage resulting from a combination of mechanical issues, drought conditions and increased demand that are preventing water delivery to approximately 1,000 customers in the Pine section of the community.

Ways to control your heartbeat


DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Last fall, my heart started to jump around, and I took it that I had palpitations, although I wasn’t sure what palpitations were. It turns out I had atrial fibrillation. Since then, I have been on many medicines for the atrial fibrillation plus Coumadin, a blood thinner. The Coumadin requires frequent trips to the lab. I have a hard time getting around. I don’t drive. My doctor suggests ablation. What are your thoughts? — H.M.

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in the kitchen | family features

Pack a Perfect Picnic

Food always seems to taste better when enjoyed outdoors. No matter the occasion or location, these packable, snackable recipes are foods fit for a fabulous picnic. Bean Salad Stuffed Shells are a simple, flavorful, portable appetizer. Jumbo shells filled with a can of 3- or 4-bean salad, herbs and cheese make great finger food.

The 1961 Roberts Fire

In 1961 this region was hit by two significant wildfires, both of which had fatalities, and both of which were located in the heart of the area Zane Grey frequented. The Roberts Fire was human caused and started June 15, 1961. Just after it was brought under control, lightning started the Hatchery Fire.

Prometheus, a watchable, worthwhile film

Prometheus, a watchable, worthwhile film

Ridley Scott, now in his mid 70s, is responsible for some iconic films — Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise — and other truly wonderful movies, like Gladiator. Prometheus might fall just short of Scott’s very best work, but it remains a very watchable and worthwhile film.

Farmers Market humming with hummus

Shoppers return for home-grown goods, jams with a kick

Trundling past its first hiccup of the new season, the Payson Farmers Market bustled last Saturday with shoppers, vendors, music and tiny ponies. “Our largest farmer canceled today because of a death in the family,” said Lorian Roethlein. “He takes up three stalls.” Usually Lorian and her husband, John, would have to handle the issue by themselves, but their partnership with Katie and Joe Klein has allowed them to relax.

You may have cash on your roof


• When paper currency is no longer in good enough condition to be circulated, it can be shredded and used in products such as shingles and insulation. You may have cash on your roof! • It was revered Chinese philosopher Confucius who made the following sage observation: “He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

Let’s ride the train

There was a time when trains traveled the length and breadth of the United States. These were the likes of Superchief, Broadway Limited, 20th Century Limited, Sunset Limited, North Coast Limited, California Zephyr, City of Los Angeles, Daylight and so many more. The hey-day for American trains was from 1945 through 1960. This was a period when American railroads put into service new and streamlined lightweight equipment. The trains were the finest on rails.

Most of Rim Country forest shut down

Effective Thursday morning, most of Rim Country forests are closed due to drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger, officials announced Wednesday.

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Poco Fire still sits at 15 percent containment

Fire activity decreased Wednesday on the Poco fire. As a result of the work done overnight by firefighters, the fire is now 11,011 acres and 15 percent contained. Crews continue to hold and improve existing fire lines on the north, east and south sides of the fire. Thursday, crews will be watching for spot fires, holding the existing fire lines and mopping-up.

Pine Runs Out of Drinking Water - Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Water Quality Notice

Water Quality Notice The PSWID is currently having difficulty maintaining a consistent supply of water in the system due to several factors, including extreme temperatures and related water demands combined with some mechanical issues and the water levels in source supply wells. This situation is causing issues with both the overall water supply throughout the District as well as water quality in limited affected areas. The most significantly impacted areas are the Following Subdivisions . . .

Tuesday, June 19

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Pikes open swim season vs. Sedona at Taylor

The 2012 version of the Payson Pikes Swim Team debuted June 16 with a performance first-year coach Sean Ford is lauding as exemplary. “We did really well,” he said about the season opener at Taylor Pool against Sedona. “We had quite a few (swimmers) win most of their events.” For the meet, the Pikes had about 20 team members compete, as did Sedona. In the meet, which was recreational, no team score was kept, but medals were awarded to top finishing swimmers.

Thank you Payson Care

Thank God for Payson Care Center. I just spent two weeks with the most sincerely caring people, the staff of Payson Care Center. There isn’t one person there that doesn’t fall into that category.

Some schools enrolling for 2012-13 school year

• Head Start is currently enrolling for the 2012-2013 school year. Head Start is a preschool and family referral program for families with low income, and children with disabilities. Families need to income qualify, have a child with a disability or have extenuating family circumstances to be admitted into the program. We are a government program that serves 3- to 5-year-old children and do not charge any fees for our services. Head Start does not provide transportation, however, we have many families that volunteer to assist others. Community Presbyterian Child Learning Center collaborates with us and provides transportation to their facility after our morning class.

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Fun way to help raise funds

Two industrious Rim Country women have hit upon an idea to help area non-profit groups in need of extra financial assistance. Leoni Dobbins and Vicki Gault launched Chari-Tea last month. The idea debuted May 30 with a fund-raising three-course, afternoon tea for Time Out, Inc. Dobbins said the generous participants in the first Chari-Tea donated $500 for the shelter and other services provided to victims of domestic abuse. “We decided that we wanted to do community work in Payson and thought it should be something we enjoyed doing,” Dobbins explained.

Is school board a rubber stamp?

Concerned over the perception they don’t follow open meeting law requirements, the members of Payson School Board decided to change how they run their meetings. With a new superintendent starting on July 1, the Payson School Board hoped to nail down communication policies, meeting procedures, and public perceptions at their retreat on June 9. “There is a public perception that we don’t follow open meeting laws,” said board member Barbara Shepherd. Shepherd explained that people who attend board meetings wonder why they see the board read off an agenda item then vote without any discussion. She said people wonder if the board makes the decision behind the scenes.

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Search for black bear abandoned

Forest Service reopens campground after trackers fail to locate bear that attacked camper

The Arizona Department of Game and Fish has given up the hunt for a bear that clawed a camper in her tent at a campground near Christopher Creek. Hunters using dogs failed to pick up the scent of the black bear the day after the attack. Hunters then staked out the campground in hopes the bear would return, but the wily bruin stayed away.

Summer Rec a longtime favorite

Program started as a way to give kids something to do in summer

The Town of Payson-sponsored Summer Recreation Program has a long and storied history of providing the Rim Country’s children with both structure and fun. Although official records of the program’s origin have not been kept, it has its roots in the mid 1980s when Bruce Haught, then an elementary school teacher and high school coach, jumpstarted the recreational offering as a way to give pre-teens and teens something to do in the summer months. “John Ketchem came to me and asked if I would like to do it,” Haught said. “It was co-sponsored by Rim Guidance, the town and school district.” Haught remembers the program attracted only three youths the first week, but he traveled around town espousing the virtues of summer recreation in hopes of bringing in more participants.

PMGA C-T-P double dippin’ on the rise

So-called “Double Dipping” is reaching epidemic proportions in Payson Men’s Golf Association tournament play. The phenomenon, which involves pocketing closest-to-the-pin prize money on two of the five par 3 holes at Payson Golf Course, began to surface earlier this season when members turned in greater than normal numbers of closest-to-the-pin wins. Just last week in a team tournament, Terry Lindsey was a closest-to-the-pin winner on two holes and almost won on a third. On No. 8, Lindsey came within an eyelash of his third closest-to-the-pin win, which would have been history-making.

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Hoop camp a big draw

Program has the most participants in history

Joe Sanchez is among the varsity head coaches who agree building a strong foundation among elementary and middle school students is the key to a strong and successful sports program. Believing that, the Payson High boys basketball coach each summer hosts a youth basketball camp open to aspiring players entering grades three through nine. Tabbed the Longhorn Academy, the 2012 camp held June 11 to 14 drew 55 youths, one of the largest turnouts ever. “We were very excited with the turnout,” said Sanchez. “A lot of kids had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals and that was our goal.”

Comunity Almanac

Watchable Wildlife 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.

Benchwarmers again capture softball crown

The Manny Arguello-captained Benchwarmers overwhelmed Tonto Apache Recreation, 18-2, on June 14 for the Town of Payson Coed Softball League championship. The win marked the fifth consecutive season the Benchwarmers have won the softball league crown. Next on the town recreation agenda is the June 25 start of mens and womens slow-pitch softball league play. Registration ended June 11 and games begin June 25 on Rumsey I and II ball fields.

Senate candidate: Closing loopholes can save schools

A veteran legislator seeking to represent Rim Country in the state senate journeyed to Payson last week to unveil a bold plan to increase school funding, decrease college tuition and still reduce tax rates —mostly by closing loopholes in the existing tax code. Flagstaff State House Rep. Tom Chabin has locked up the Democratic nomination and will face current House Rep. Chester Crandell in November. The Heber-based Crandell currently represents Rim Country in Legislative District 4, but new district lines will move both Rim Country and Heber into District 6, along with Flagstaff, Sedona, Camp Verde, and a portion of Fountain Hills. Chabin told the Payson Democratic Women’s Club last week that Arizona will never recover economically if the Legislature doesn’t act to protect the school system and make college affordable for the state’s students.

Payson’s economy stirring

Sales rise 1 percent; building permits jump by 31 percent

Payson’s economy is still holdings its own with a small rise in sales and a big jump in building permits. Unfortunately, cuts in state-shared revenues for things like income and gas taxes have continued to squeeze the town’s budget despite an improvement in local sales and permits. The 1 percent year-to-date rise in local sales tax collections demonstrates that Rim Country is still just holding its own. Sales taxes remain the single biggest source of revenue in the general fund. As of the end of May, sales taxes have risen $54,000 to about $4.7 million. That means Payson hasn’t recovered quite as well as the rest of the state, since state-shared sales tax revenue rose 2 percent to $992,000.

Lap dogs or policy setters?

Rubber stamps? Lap dogs? Public servants? Bold policy setters? Which seems like the best description of the Payson School Board? The school board pondered its public image during a recent retreat, fretting about public perceptions and legal realities. Board member Barbara Shepherd, for one, worried that too often in the past the school board has asked all its questions in private and kept mum during the public meetings — leaving the public to wonder whether they’re either striking deals in secret or simply rubber stamping the recommendations of Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

True patriotism defined

True patriotism isn’t cheap. It’s about taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going. What true patriotism is not: • Those who earn tens of millions of dollars a year but pay less than 14 percent of their income in taxes, and argue the rich should pay even less, are not true patriots.

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Ballot measure would protect park budget

Groups seek signatures to prevent Legislature from sweeping park fees

Rim Country advocates for the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park have rallied around an initiative that would prevent the Legislature from diverting fees collected at state parks into the general fund. The Citizens to Save Arizona’s Natural Resources hopes to avert the threatened closure of state parks, which have not only lost almost all state and federal subsidies but have also lost money from admissions fees and taxpayer-earmarked funds.

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GCC’s tax rate rising

College board OKs 9 percent rise in property tax rate

The owner of a $200,000 home in Rim Country will pay approximately $3 more to Gila Community College (GCC) on their property taxes this year. All told, the owner of that hypothetical $200,000 house will therefore pay about $150 annually to the district. Homeowners whose property value has declined might actually end up paying less. However, many homeowners whose swooning market values aren’t yet reflected in lower assessed values have been frustrated to find their property tax bills rising as their home values fall. Schools have approved most of the increases as they scramble to make up for dwindling state support.

4th of July Celebrations

Several celebrations of the Fourth of July and one for Arizona’s Centennial will make the first week of July sparkle with fun. Some of the scheduled celebrations are:

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Young wildfire expands to 3,700 acres

Crews plan backfires to trap blaze

A wind-whipped fire six miles north of Young has expanded to 3,700 acres and injured at least one firefighter, who was hospitalized when the fall of a burned tree broke his leg. The Payson Airport became a major staging ground for the air assault on the fire that has claimed no structures, but now threatens a major APS power line.

Americans died on 9-11, not just New Yorkers

In response to Sylvia Freeman’s letter — I thank God you’re not in control of our military. On 9-11 the people who were killed were not just New Yorkers, they were our fellow Americans — brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends.

Ashamed of care for military

There isn’t anywhere I would rather live than in America. However, I am ashamed of our lack of responsibility to our bravest citizens.

Citizens should join fight for fair elections

A sad and disturbing thing recently happened in Wisconsin and California. The unlimited political funding that has become legal with the “Citizens United” case has begun to show its strength.

Flores offered 10-year, then 5-year deal to Flibotte

The Roundup published a letter from Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores commenting on Governor Brewer’s refusal to follow the Clemency Board’s recommendation of the sentence for Robert Flibotte from 90 years to five years. Flores said that she and a prosecutors’ lobbying group believe the governor’s action is “correct” and should be “applauded.”

Hwy. 87 accident kills two

Two people died when they pulled out in front of a truck on the Beeline Highway at 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Department of Public Safety. A release of preliminary information indicated that two people in a 2012 Ford Fusion westbound at State Route 188 apparently ran the stop sign and pulled out in front of a northbound semi-tractor trailer rig on Highway 87. The preliminary report indicates the two people in the Fusion may have lived in Superior. The report says investigators found no evidence that alcohol was involved in the accident. Rescue units reportedly responded from Payson to find the car in a bloody tangle. Crews reportedly used the jaws of life.

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In Shining Armor

Knights of Columbus ride to rescue of Payson’s food bank

In response to recent news of the funding crisis faced by St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, the Knights of Columbus Council 9995 from St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Payson made a substantial donation to help the needy and marginally employed in the Rim Country.

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Groups push again for endangered species status for desert eagles

For the third time in six years, two environmental groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get endangered species protection for the Sonoran Desert population of the bald eagle. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon Society said this week that they had filed a notice of intent to sue over the status of the desert eagles, which they claim is a distinct subspecies of the larger bald eagle population.

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Animal Sciences student wins prestigious DEKALB award

Katrina Kueny of Payson High School (PHS) recently received the 2012 DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award, sponsored by The Monsanto Company. This year, the award celebrates its 65th anniversary. Since the award’s inception, more than 168,000 high school seniors from across the country have received the honor, which has become a symbol for excellence.

Kinsman could be oldest in Komen walk

When Ray Kinsman of Payson participates in this year’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Phoenix, he may be the event’s oldest participant. The event this year will be Nov. 9 through Nov. 11 and Kinsman will be 88 on Oct. 21. Kinsman is walking in memory of his late wife, Theresa, who died of brain cancer. He still gets teary-eyed when he talks about her.

Look Back

• June 21, 1788: New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land. Massachusetts had initially opposed the document as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states.

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Fire wouldn’t die

A hilltop house fire ignited by sparks from a backyard grill hunkered down in the attic of a Star Valley home and fiercely resisted hours of effort by crews from Hellsgate, Payson and Houston Mesa fire departments. The residents and their seven dogs escaped injury as the fire enveloped the attic and managed to escape firefighters every time they thought they had it cornered. The home reportedly belonged to Misty and Robert Duffy, longtime residents of the rambling house perched on a hilltop at the end of a steep, winding driveway on Buckskin Drive in Star Valley.

Saturday, June 16

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Poco Fire

Story updated Monday, June 18, 6:00 a.m.

The Poco Fire was first reported Thursday, June 14, in the early afternoon. It is six miles northeast of Young, AZ. At last report it had consumed 3,200 acres of ponderosa pine in extremely rugged and remote terrain. A camp tour was conducted for community members of Young. Approximately 40 people attended.

Friday, June 15

Athletic director tapped

Pending school board approval, longtime Payson High teacher, coach and counselor Don Heizer has been tapped as the school’s athletic director/dean. The board will officially act on the recommendation of a search committee and newly appointed Payson High School Principal Anna Van Zile to hire Heizer at its June 18 board meeting. Heizer came to the district in the 1987-88 school year as an In School Suspension (ISS) supervisor and later taught American history before he became the school’s counselor.

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Worth more than money

Bracelet lost during Relay for Life returned to grieving

First Penny Inman-Orsini lost her husband to cancer. Then in a tragic irony, she lost the gold bracelet he wore for 47 years as she walked around the Payson High School track June 1 during the Relay for Life effort to raise money for cancer research. “It was the first time I wore it,” she said, tears rolling down her face. But wait. The story has a happy ending after all — thanks to a volunteer fireman and an improbable chain of events that says a lot about people, love and fate.

Sexting, sex spurs cop’s firing

Officer ‘discredits’ police department — for second time

After surviving an embarrassing sexting scandal involving a drug informant last year, Payson Police Officer Josh LaManna, 34, lost his job after admitting that while on duty he sent lewd text messages to two other women and had sex with one after entering her home without permission. LaManna, 34, resigned late last month in lieu of termination after Police Chief Don Engler discovered LaManna was sending and receiving sexually explicit pictures with two other women.

Sales tax for education initiative provoking debate

An initiative to extend the one-cent sales tax for education has gathered more than enough signatures to qualify for November’s ballot, say backers. In response, the president of the Arizona State Senate released a statement opposing the Quality Education and Jobs initiative, “... I am confident that as the facts become more known about the shortcomings of this initiative and risks of raising taxes ... Arizonans will vote this down and work for real reforms and accountability that our students and parents deserve,” wrote Senate President Steve Pierce.

Fast-growing 1,000-acre brush fire closes road to Young

Forest Service crews and air tankers struggled Friday morning to contain a 1,000-acre brush fire six miles north of Young. The fire yesterday forced the closure of Forest Road 512, frustrating many Young residents trying to reach their homes. The fire has “high” potential for growth and has tripled in size overnight. It started on Thursday afternoon from undisclosed causes.

Rescuers haul hiker on stretcher

A Gilbert man hiking alone took a 20-foot tumble down a rocky slope Wednesday, badly lacerating his back. Search and rescue crews eventually had to carry the man out by hand because the canyon was too rough to use a wheeled litter and too narrow for a helicopter landing. The man sat for some time in pain after his stumble before friends found him.

Community Almanac

There will be a $6 jewelry sale to benefit the Mogollon Health Alliance, which funds community health programs and scholarships for students pursuing training for careers in the health care industry. The sale is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, June 15 at the Payson Regional Medical Center west lobby (Labor & Delivery entrance).

Kick out the incumbents

The political scene in our state is toxic and it’s a mess.

Myths and misinformation keep coming back

Like a snake with many heads, some topics continue to be de-fanged, only to have another version appear.

People want to force their way of life on me

Everybody in America seems angry and divided on many issues, including myself.

Illegals costing taxpayers more than the Iraq war

$12 billion a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English.

Kids need more to do

Every time I drive by the old athletic club I can’t help but think what an ideal place this would be for a skating rink.

Goodbye and thanks

As my family and I pack and move to the Valley, I wanted to take this opportunity to send a big thank you to everyone that I have worked with for the five years I have been with parks and recreation.

Domestic violence costs measured in lives and fear

Camille Levee has set herself an impossible task, God bless her. If you want to know just how difficult — and how important — a challenge she faces, just keep track of how long it takes you to read this editorial.

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Farmer’s Market humming with hummus

Shoppers return for home-grown goods, jams with a kick

Trundling past its first hiccup of the new season, the Payson Farmer’s Market bustled on Saturday with shoppers, vendors, music and tiny ponies. “Our largest farmer canceled today because of a death in the family,” said Lorian Roethlein. “He takes up three stalls.” Usually Lorian and her husband, John, would have to handle the issue by themselves, but their partnership with Katie and Joe Klein has allowed them to relax.

AIA revamp could be due for another revamp

At the conclusion of almost every sports season the past school year, coaches have emerged complaining about the Division/Section configuration that replaced the Conference/Region alignment used for decades. Most recently, some small-town Arizona volleyball coaches, including Payson High coach Arnold Stonebrink, banded together to petition the Arizona Interscholastic Association for changes in the format.

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Pine teen races to state silver medal

Chelsie Stodghill, Payson High’s lone entrant in the Arizona High School Rodeo Association state championships, rode her way to a state runner-up barrel racing finish setting two Payson Event Center records along the way. The silver medal, as impressive as it is, might only be a prognostication of things to come.

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Ellison assumes Longhorn gridiron reins

Prospective players given detailed rules for conduct; expectations

A man with small-town roots has been tapped as the new Payson High School football coach to replace Byron Quinlan who resigned last month. Graham Ellison, who grew up in Marana and then returned there to teach and coach, was officially named football coach at a June 9 school board meeting.

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Gaining respect for veterans’ goal in ride

Jeremy Staat and Wesley Barrientos admitted they weren’t sure what awaited them when the two made a mid-March overnight stop in Payson during their Wall-to-Wall journey to raise awareness of military veterans’ issues.

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Escaping from fear, violence

Time Out director wants to help people transform their lives

All around Camille Levee’s new office at Time Out, Inc. tiny butterflies gleam. A few frame her computer screen, a butterfly magnet holds the picture of her late husband, others glitter in the earrings and necklace she wears.

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Shelby School adding scouting programs

It has been a busy June for me and for the Hellsgate Fireflies Auxiliary. This past Saturday, the auxiliary participated in the Bashas’ Food Festival in the Bashas’ parking lot. There were many vendors selling various things including food and crafts.

Five pieces of great luck that shaped my life

If you’ve been reading this column regularly, I’ll bet I know what you’re saying, “I know which one he’s going to say was Number One. He’s going to say it was meeting Lolly, his wife.”  Right, Johnny! Nothing compares to that. How could it? So I’ll tell you about numbers 2 through 5. The second best thing that ever happened to me came five years after my dad died. Every young boy needs a father, but mine was taken by a golf ball that strayed across the rough and struck him in the neck on the fairway on one of the back nine. 

Get ready for Independence Day Parade

Hello again, fellow Creekers. The Christopher Creek Independence Day Parade will be held Saturday, June 30. All patriotic decorated vehicles and walking participants are welcome. The parade lineup begins at the Tall Pines Market at 12:30 p.m. and the parade starts at 1 p.m. The parade will head down Route 260 to the Creekside Restaurant, circle back to Columbine Road and down to the car wash, then continue down through and up Apple Lane and will finish at the Landmark at the Creek.

Get TCCA 2012-13 early bird tickets now

Only two more weeks to go. The June 30 deadline to get 2012-2013 Tonto Community Concert Association series early bird reduced-price season tickets is quickly approaching. Season ticket brochures and ordering forms can be picked up at the Payson Public Library or the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Clubs and Organizations

The Rim Country Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will meet at 8 a.m., Saturday, June 16 at Tiny’s Restaurant. The speaker will be Robert Henley, a spokesman for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization of Payson.

June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. With that being said, maybe it’s time for you to consider adding a new cat to your household. Adopting a new cat can come with a lot of changes for both you and your new cat. We’ve put together a checklist to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

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Plenty to do – but be careful

The P/S Fire District and CERT are sponsoring an annual Wildfire Preparation Community Meeting at 6 p.m., Friday, June 15 in the P/S Cultural Hall. Learn about changes to our siren system and alternatives, evacuation, how to prepare, what you need, what to do, what is expected, and where to go. Also learn current restrictions and condition in our forest and more about our CERT team, community shelter and how to get involved. Everyone is urged to attend this very important and informative meeting.

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McAnerny named Officer of the Year

Detective earns Officer of the Year honor from Sons of the American Revolution

Payson Police Detective Michael McAnerny’s willingness to take on complicated and arduous investigations recently earned him recognition as Northern Gila County Officer of the Year from the Rim Country Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. A six-year veteran, McAnerny is only the second officer to collect the award. Last year, Payson officer Jesse Davies received it.

Campus advocates seek help

Backers of the plan to build a university in campus in Payson held a town hall meeting Wednesday, hoping to shore up public support and raise money needed to pay the steep costs of getting the Forest Service to agree to sell a 300-acre chunk of land. Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said campus advocates would meet in Payson with representatives for Arizona State University next week in hopes of salvaging an agreement to build an ASU campus here. ASU had proposed a deal that the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) has rejected based on finances.

State Route 260 Still Open

Reports are circulating in the Payson area that State Route 260 is closed due to a forest fire. The reports are not true.

Thursday, June 14

Wildfire burning near Young

A wildfire is growing in steep, rugged terrain north of Young, causing fire officials to close Colcord Road, the main roadway leading into the small community Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 13

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Mogollon Garden Tour

Secrets of great gardens

Get a glimpse of some of the best gardens in the Rim Country and learn some of the secrets of top gardeners at the annual Rim Area Gardeners Mogollon Garden Tour. The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 16. Each year, the Rim Area Garden Club seeks out area gardens to be featured on the Annual Mogollon Garden Tour. This year’s tour includes gardens in Payson, Star Valley, and Pine.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 20: The disappearing miner 

Newly elected Justice of the Peace Cal Greer found a gunnysack filled with bones on a shelf in the Payson jailhouse. They posed a mystery that sent the JP searching for answers, and what he discovered put some pieces of the puzzle together. The mystery was clarified later by the research of Lois Prante Stevens, a niece of the dead man.

Celebrating summer

It’s that time again — cookouts, picnics, family reunions and backyard parties are happening all over the country. Grocery carts are getting filled with hot dogs, fresh fruit and condiments galore, all in anticipation of some outdoor fun. Looking for some inspiration for a get-together? Look no further than time-tested and always versatile potato salad. There are many variations of this classic side, from mayonnaise-based dressings to zesty vinaigrettes. But it’s the dish’s delicious “accessories” that make it a crowd pleaser.

Suspicious pap smear isn’t death sentence

What’s the usual life span of someone who has had testicular cancer?

More great vacation ideas for summer

If you are thinking of a vacation that would require transatlantic air, think again. You may decide to spend time on this side of the pond instead this summer. Airfares have gone up as much as 22 percent over the same time last year. The Olympics will be in London between July 27 to August 12 and some transatlantic fares have already jumped to $3,000 during this time. The reason airfares have jumped for summer is the high fuel prices airlines must pay to keep their planes in the air coupled with a two and three percent reduction in scheduled flights. Most flights to almost anywhere are running quite full.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The annual Summer Concert Series by the Payson parks department features a free program at 7 p.m. every Saturday from through July 28. The concerts are held in the amphitheater area of Green Valley Park where the audience can bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the show.

Good 2 Go

The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) has a nationwide “Field Day” event each summer. This event consists of members of amateur radio groups taking their equipment to “the field” and exercising their capabilities. One such group of “hams” is the local 4x4 Ham group and it will be operating a station on the Rim. Non-radio folks are invited to attend and learn about amateur “ham” radio.

Tuesday, June 12

Centennial events slated

The official Pine/Strawberry celebration of the Arizona Centennial is Saturday, July 7, complete with a community parade at 10:30 a.m. Participants must register before Friday, June 29. Get information and registration forms at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library. The Pine/Strawberry Museum opens at 10 a.m. that day and the Pine/Strawberry Historical Society will host a barbecue under the ramada from noon to 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the museum and library and cost $8 per person, with those 12 and under served for $5 each.

Scary fire season smolders

Crews snuff out Tonto Basin Fire as forest restrictions tighten and drought deepens

The failure of the spring rains and a rainfall total less than one-third normal has pushed the fire danger to extreme throughout Rim Country and contributed to two nearby fires over the weekend. Firefighters quickly got control of a quarter-acre blaze on the shores of Roosevelt Lake, but continue to struggle with a 1,200-acre fire near Superior. A cigarette butt most likely sparked a small brush fire in Tonto Basin this weekend, fire officials say. While Forest Service firefighters stopped the blaze at roughly a quarter acre Friday, things could have ended much worse, said Steve Holt, Tonto Basin Fire chief.

Another one bites the dust

Officer’s resignation under pressure leaves Payson understaffed

Yet another resignation under pressure has punctuated a rocky year for the Payson Police Department, plagued by scandals, suspension and missteps. Down five officers due to a combination of budget constraints and officer gaffs, the department recently lost another patrol officer. Josh LaManna resigned May 22 in lieu of termination for “inappropriate on-duty behavior” and could face criminal charges of trespassing, said Police Chief Don Engler.

Payson ‘perfect’ for telecommuters

People discover they can work big-city jobs while living in a small town

“Payson is the perfect telecommuters town,” said James Hohl, who helps patients squeeze through insurance mazes for a Wyoming hospital while rarely leaving Payson. Process Engineer Hohl works for St. John’s Community Hospital, but spends most of his time in his Payson home office. From there, he guides patients through the maze of their insurance coverage so that they only receive one bill for services. He and his wife Rachel spent several years struggling with the Wyoming winters before deciding they wanted to return to Arizona — but keep their jobs in Wyoming.

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Warriors seek peace by making war on bass

Ron Kersten had executed his bass-catching strategy masterfully, fishing the deep holes, the rocky points, the shad-spattered topwaters, the deep channels — all to no avail. Alas, Staff Sgt. Thomas Boyd had not caught a thing.

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Glimpse some of Rim Country’s best gardens

Get a glimpse of some of the best gardens in the Rim Country and learn some of the secrets of top gardeners at the annual Rim Area Gardeners Mogollon Garden Tour Saturday, June 16 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each year, the Rim Area Garden Club seeks out area gardens to be featured on the annual Mogollon Garden Tour. This year’s tour includes gardens in Payson, Star Valley and Pine. In addition to the fabulous gardens, a variety of artists and musicians will share their talents.

Tip helps police foil bank robbery

Police nab suspect after he eats the holdup note

A Payson man facing legal troubles allegedly got so desperate for cash he plotted to rob a Prescott bank earlier this month. But police foiled Clinton Carl Gimlen’s plan when someone let Gila County sheriff’s investigators in on his idea, giving Prescott police and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents time to alert area banks and ultimately arrest Gimlen on charges including attempted robbery. However, officers were not quick enough to stop Gimlen from reportedly eating the robbery note. Gimlen, 39, now faces three more charges on his rap sheet.

Community Almanac

The Gila County Road Department will be chip sealing Gibson Ranch Road and Round Valley Road from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13, unless there are unexpected delays. Also on Wednesday, June 13, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the county will be chip sealing OxBow Trail in OxBow Estates. Fog seal will be put on the west end of Fossil Creek Road, Western Way and Tomahawk in Strawberry from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19. All vehicles and other structures must be removed from the rights of way on these roads for the projects.

What this Republican believes

I am certain that I am not the only person that finds it interesting that many “progressive” Democrats choose to defend President Obama’s policies and actions by attacking President Bush and making references to Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Can’t fight city hall

I am very disappointed in your court system.

CASA coordinator recognized

Every April the Northern Gila County CASA Coordinator Katrisha Stuler plans an event to recognize CASAs here in Payson.

Rim residents should be thankful for PRMC

In the past I have heard several negative comments about Payson Regional Medical Center and the following, I hope, will set the record straight.

Stop the name-calling

In a recent Roundup there were three letters that must be addressed.

First an apology for any offense; then a response

First I wish to apologize to Tim Branson and any other Christians I may have offended by my last letter.

Governor should be applauded for upholding sentence

As prosecutors we very much thank and stand firm with Governor Brewer in her denial of the shockingly lenient recommendation from the Board of Executive Clemency in the Robert Flibotte matter. Without even having served one year of his sentence, the Board recommended he serve only five years of a 90-year sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Flibotte was convicted of 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, nine of which were designated as dangerous crimes against children because they involved young boys and girls under the age of 15 — one as young as 3 years old.

The guy on your right, the guy on your left

Maybe we’ve made some progress. Despite the nation’s fatigue with these endless wars, we do not harangue the returning warriors in the airports — as so many did in the throes of the Vietnam War. We have learned to honor our warriors, no matter what we think of the war they’ve had to fight on our behalf. Still, we put the whole thing on the credit card and often offer only lip-service support — shedding tears on Memorial Day, then turning quickly away.

Three Payson High School teachers win county contest

Armstrong, Camp, Mason sweep awards for teaching that inspires students and connects to the community

Payson High School engineering teacher Marlene Armstrong, high school teacher Shelly Camp and music teacher Daria Mason have swept this year’s Gila County Teacher of the Year Awards for both primary and secondary school. “I felt stunned (to win),” said Armstrong, “I was in great company.” Armstrong teaches the hands-on engineering class at Payson High School, where students learn math and engineering by designing projects to solve particular problems. They often then create the objects on a three-dimensional printer that turns designs into molded plastic.

Ellison, Young to take over coaching duties

Graham Ellison will become Payson’s High School next football coach and Brian Young was named the baseball coach during a June 9 PUSD school board retreat. Ellison replaces Byron Quinlan and Young takes over for Scott Novack. Both Quinlan and Novack resigned weeks ago. However, a time line has not been set for naming the school’s next athletic director/dean — a position that was just last week approved by the board.

PRMC awarded for patient safety

Payson Regional Medical Center was honored with an “A” Hospital Safety ScoreSM by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national non-profit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The Hospital Safety ScoreSM was calculated using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. U.S. hospitals were assigned an A, B, C, D, or F for their safety. “We have not had the opportunity to review the Leapfrog survey, methodology, or the results, but our focus every day is providing high-quality, safe care to our patients,” said Payson Regional Medical Center CEO Chris Wolf.

Local real estate office recognized

Dominion Real Estate Partners awarded several Payson realtors awards at its annual meeting recently. Payson Dominion’s Maria Cohen, Tad and Bonnie Neal and Susan Slenk were honored for having the Greatest Number of Transactions and Highest Percentage of Home Sales Closed in 2011. The group out performed 14 other Dominion Real Estate Partners offices throughout Arizona. In addition, Dominion Real Estate Partners honored Payson Associates Jim Hall and Suzi Wild for their overall performance in 2011.

Hotshot training a matter of life and death

PRESCOTT – “Fire everywhere!” Phillip “Mando” Maldonado, a squad leader, shouts instructions as a dozen Hotshots, firefighters trained to combat wildfires in extreme conditions, face a nightmare scenario: flames rushing in from all sides and their survival hinging on successfully unfolding and wrapping themselves in thin sheets of heat-reflecting material.

Clubs and Organizations

The Payson Womans Club, the oldest service club in Payson, holds general membership meetings at 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Payson Womans Club building, 510 W. Main St. Membership is open to local women ages 18 and up.

Son of Rim Country pioneers dies

Howard Edward Childers, passed away June 5, 2012 in Payson, Ariz. He was born June 22, 1938 in Mesa. Mr. Childers was an executive assistant to Stewart Udall who was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior. He was also a Realtor, historian, caterer and a cowboy. Services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 16 at the Payson Pioneer Cemetery. He will be dearly missed by family, friends and many acquaintances.

Unemployment rate drops sharply

County rate hits 8.9 percent, closing in on state and national averages for April

Gila County’s unemployment rate dropped sharply in April, moving the region within spitting distance of the state and national rates. The county’s April rate dropped from 10.1 percent in March to 8.9 percent in April, the biggest one-month drop since the recession took hold. By comparison, the national rate for the same period dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 percent and the Arizona rate dropped from 8.6 percent to 8.2 percent.

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Hearty souls brave annual Sprint Triathlon challenges

Weekend warriors swim, bike and run to finish

Only ticks of a second after the starting gun fired, a field of 120 gutsy weekend warriors were off on a morning-long odyssey that would take them on a 50-yard swim, 15-mile bike ride and a 5K run. That’s not the way most people dream of enjoying a leisurely Saturday morning, but these hearty athletes turned out to test their spirit, strength and endurance in the Town of Payson-hosted Sprint Triathlon held June 11 at Taylor Pool, Rumsey Park and local streets.

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Morris benefit attracts 94 golfers

Annual tournament raises funds for PHS football program, scholarships

The foursome of Brian Echols, Jessie Smith, Sabrina Cly and Virgil Cly hooked up to win the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament by posting a card of 53. Virgil Cly and Smith are no strangers to the Payson Golf Course tournament site where the two helped carve out the team victory. As Payson Golf Association members, both play there at least one time each week. Sabrina Cly, however, was testing the waters. “This was the first time I have played this year,” she said. The annual benefit, which raises funds for the Payson High School football program and two annual scholarships, drew 94 players on June 8 to PGC.

Pikes swim team puzzled by drop in numbers

Still time for youth to join practices

Interest in the Payson Pikes swim team is waning this year and no one seems sure of the reasons. “It’s hard to say; we really don’t know,” said EVO Swim School owner David Tait. “We have a few (youths) on Swim Neptune in the Valley and we changed coaches, but those shouldn’t affect us.” EVO, a Gilbert-area swim school, contracts with the town to operate Taylor Pool each summer and oversee all the aquatic programs.

Narrow miss on triple dip

Payson Men’s Golf Association members narrowly missed witnessing the first so-called “Triple Dip” in recent club history. The near miss occurred June 6 during the playing of an ABCD Team tournament at Payson Golf Course. There, Terry Lindsey pocketed closest-to-the-pin prize money on two holes, accomplishing what PMGA spokesman Herb Sherman calls a “Double Dip.” On No. 8, Lindsey came within an eye lash of his third closest-to-the-pin win which would have been history making.

Friday, June 8

Fishing Report

Rory’s tips: We have a free fishing day in Arizona this Saturday, June 9. Hey, want an opportunity to catch some big trout this weekend? Well, both Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake along the Mogollon Rim have been stocked with some bonus-sized trout weighing 5 to 8 pounds in addition to the regular stockers. Better put new fishing line on the reel!

Indictment vindicates woman’s quest for justice

Staff at a local veterans shelter say the Monday arraignment of a man who stole thousands from the center has finally given them a sense of closure. James Harold Reardon, 42, appeared in a Gila County courtroom in Globe on two counts of theft after authorities extradited him from Florida where he had fled after allegedly stealing from the veterans shelter in December. Reardon remains in jail on a $25,000 bond. His next court appearance is July 13 in Payson before Judge Peter Cahill. Andrea Russo, Veterans Helping Veterans assistant director, said she felt vindicated on Monday as she watched Reardon walk into court wearing handcuffs.

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Local teens on five-day pioneer experience

Local teenagers gave up modern vehicles and luxuries to experience life as a pioneer this week. From June 5-9, roughly 80 local youth have been pulling handcarts, participating in the 2012 Youth Handcart Trek. The Payson Arizona Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sponsoring the event. Ivan McLaws, chair of this year’s trek, and numerous volunteers have been working on the event for more than eight months.

Sports shoe exchange organized

Larry Kennedy and his wife Joyce have come up with a unique idea that could benefit our town’s young baseball and soccer team members. Their plan is to jump-start a “Shoe Exchange Program” at the Payson United Methodist Church where young athletes who have outgrown their basketball and soccer shoes can take them to be reconditioned and later passed on to others who they might fit.

Water Warriors host military vets Saturday

The Warriors on the Water Military Appreciation Bass Fishing Tournament makes its Arizona debut tomorrow, June 9 on Roosevelt Lake. A field of 25 to 30 bass fishing professionals, several from Payson and Tonto Basin, will gather at Grapevine Ramp on the lake to escort military veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom on fishing trips. “It’s all about the veterans, we want to thank them for their service,” said Jim Goughnour, one of the event organizers. The tournament begins at safe light, about 5 a.m., and wraps up at 10 a.m. with an awards ceremony and luncheon.

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Scottsdale beckons ex-Lady Horn track star

Jaymi Carlen is taking her considerable athletic skills to college. Just last week the 2012 Payson High School graduate learned she had been awarded scholarships, including the prestigious Presidential scholarship, to attend Scottsdale Community College where she will be a member of the school’s track and field team possibly competing in the heptathlon. “I was planning on going to Montana State, but when I got the scholarships I couldn’t turn Scottsdale down,” Carlen said. “I will probably go (to Montana State) after I finish up at Scottsdale.”

Search for new athletic director/dean starts Monday

Interviews of candidates for the new athletic director/dean position at Payson High School begin Monday, June 11, in front of a specially selected committee. However, a time line has not been set as to when the person will be selected and begin duties.

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Demo Derby thrills drivers and spectators alike

Audience members could only watch in disbelief last weekend as some of the state’s finest adrenaline-crazed drivers piloted trucks in a bull pen-like arena with a goal of ramming into one another until only one was left running. It all took place during a Town of Payson-hosted Demolition Derby held June 9 at the Payson Event Center. The derby was one of the highlights of the Third Annual Mountain High Games that also included a 5K run, ATV rodeo, bike race, Dutch oven cookoff, horseshoe and archery contests and sawdust games.

Big city writer heats up Mountain course

Bob Young is living proof sportswriters can be good athletes despite spending much of their working day at a desk or laptop penning stories.

Where do kids get such crazy ideas? Part II

Last week I left off where I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” as a young boy and came away with the idea that tropical islands were the paradises he pictured them to be. Which they are — if you can handle mildew, dry rot, bugs, and rain. Something I didn’t learn until I visited a couple of them.

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Strawberries, quilts and more

Strawberries, quilts, crafts, fiddlers, and pony rides are a few of the reasons Pine is the place to be this weekend. On June 8 the doors of Pine’s Cultural Hall open at 9 a.m. for the 16th Annual Strawberry Patchers Quilt Show. For admission of $2 you can see beautiful and colorful quilts and quilted wearable items submitted by the extraordinary quilters of Pine, Strawberry and the Rim Country. The show continues June 9 and 10 with raffles to win beautiful quilts, a Berry Patch Boutique with unique handmade items by members of the group, a Vendor Mall, a quilt appraiser and Viewer’s Choice Voting. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Friday and Saturday, and until 3 p.m. Sunday. Bring a non-perishable food item and receive a ticket to win a quilt.

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Campers need to be aware of wildlife

The big news this week is the “missing” bear. This big, bad bear attacked a lady inside her tent at the Ponderosa Campground recently and he is still at large. Arizona Game and Fish personnel have closed that campground along with the Bear Flat campground on the 405 Road and extended the closure into the Hellsgate Wilderness area. For more current information, contact the Payson Ranger Station at (928) 474-7900 or the Arizona Game and Fish Headquarters at 800-970-2327. Many campers do not give a thought about the wild creatures that inhabit our forests and a “bear alert” is very serious. Every camper needs to inform themselves about safe camping in bear country.

Sun Devils return to Camp T welcomed

In just a few short weeks, it looks like the ASU Maroon and Gold fight song will again be resounding throughout cool summer air of the Rim Country — music to many a Sun Devil fan’s ear. By all indications, it appears that after a four-year absence, the Arizona State University Sun Devils football team will return this August to Camp Tontozona to hold its week-long summer training camp. Camp Tontozona is located just over 20 miles east of Payson on Highway 260, on the right about a mile past Kohl’s Ranch.

Meet one of our new neighbors, Sheldon Lewis

It’s time for another installment of “better know your neighbor.” This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Sheldon Lewis. The Lewis family moved to Christopher Creek last month from Ava, Mo. Sheldon’s parents, Brendon and Angela Lewis, who I have known since I was kid growing up in Pinetop, arrived in Christopher Creek earlier this year and they are the property managers at the Christopher Creek Lodge and the Grey Hackle Lodge. Sheldon is one of six children in the Lewis family.

Clubs and Organizations

Michelle Abraham, with Unity of Phoenix, will help present Unity of Payson’s Sunday, June 10 program. The program is part 1 of a 2-part series of “Modeling the Unity Principles.”

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High school rodeo hits town

Hundreds of teenaged cowboys and cowgirls, their families and friends descended on Payson this week for the finals of the 2011-2012 Arizona High School Rodeo Association. Alas, the only local youngster in the contest is Chelsie Stodghill of Pine, competing in barrel racing, breakaway and team roping, where she pairs up with Aspyn Dent of Phoenix.

Stupid criminal tips

Bizarre series of events prompts arrest of armed robbery suspects, others

The bizarre series of events involved stolen vehicles, a communal gun, drug use, a common middle name and a few lucky breaks for police. By the time the flurry of events ended, officers not only arrested the two people they believe conspired to rob a woman at a drive-thru ATM, but three others on unrelated charges.

Homeless student rate soars

A stunning 25 percent of Payson students are considered “homeless” by the school district, one of the highest rates in the state. The share of students living in unstable households, with relatives or in campgrounds and cars has jumped 10 percent in the past two years. “What’s particularly sobering is the comparison of our homeless numbers with districts many times our overall population — and not just affluent districts, but poor urban ones,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

Economic downturn hits Rim Country families hard

Food bank cupboard nearly bare

The cupboards are empty. A stockpile of funds has dried up. The food bank is broke. St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank officials say they have less than $200 in the bank and are having to turn people away who desperately need money to help pay their bills. Lynn Canning, Society of St. Vincent de Paul vice president, said this is the first time in four years the food bank’s funds have dipped so low.

The story of the fireman, the blind soldier, the geek and me

We gathered in the bright sun on the shores of an ancient mystery, a fireman, a geek, a ranger and a rotating writer. Well, actually — we were all rotating, spinning with the planet as the cosmos lines itself up. Tonto National Monument Ranger Mark Stewart held court before his telescopes as Venus drifted across the face of the sun. Wounded in the Gulf War, Stewart was blind for two years before a series of surgeries finally restored sight in at least one eye. He took up astronomy after that, determined to witness all the wonders of a teaming universe.

Loss of Coffey immeasurable

With the death of Mr. Doyle Coffey (see May 22 edition of Payson Roundup), Payson lost a real champion for Gila Community College in general and the Payson campus of GCC in particular.

Investigate thinning contract

It seems that everyone agrees, except the Forest Service suits, that the contract awarded to clear national forests in Arizona does not pass the smell test.

Supply Line says thanks

The Payson Supply Line would like to thank the Payson American Legion Riders again this year for another incredible Fun Run event.

Memorial Day tributes -- the rest of the story

This year we presented four outstanding Memorial Day tributes in Rim Country.

Golf tourney a huge success

Because of the love and generosity of our donors, sponsors, golfers and volunteers, the Fifth Annual Gracie Lee Haught Golf Tournament was a huge success.

Loving wildlife to death

In response to Phon D Sutton’s reply regarding feeding wild animals — I would say that anyone who reads the Arizona Game and Fish Department regulations will see that 13-2927, which was passed by the Legislature in 2006 — called “NO feeding animals” — makes it clear as to what the people who manage the animals in Arizona want the citizens to do in regards to feeding them.

Kudos Payson

I have been a guest in your community for the past month.

Postseason sports vote was a sham

Granted, the selection of postseason high school sports honorees remains an inexact science. Each year, some student-athletes deserving recognition get left out and some who haven’t earned the honor get lucky. That’s simply the nature of prep sports. But what occurred last week in the selection by coaches voting for All-Division III and All-Section III softball team members was a sham.

Community Almanac

Friday, June 8 is the deadline to register for the town’s American Red Cross Babysitting Class to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, June 14 and Friday, June 15 at the Payson Police Department meeting room.

Strawberry Fest, quilt show this weekend in Pine

Cooler temps, family fun await up north

Head up to Pine this weekend — not only for cooler climes, but also for the 16th Annual Strawberry Patchers Quilt Show and the 22nd Annual Strawberry Festival. Both events will be at the Pine Community Center, which is in the center of Pine, to the west side of Highway 87, 15 miles north of Payson.

Suddenlink launches faster Internet service in Payson

Suddenlink announced it is now offering High Speed Internet MAX 50.0 service in Payson, featuring a download speed of up to 50 megabits per second (Mbps), the fastest residential service in the area.

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Man honors brother with annual bike ride

Count it as another measure of devotion. Andrew Rivas celebrates Memorial Day in a special way. He remembers his brother, Raymond, with a long-distance memorial ride.

Automatic investing can pay off for you

To achieve investment success, you don’t have to start out with a huge sum or “get lucky” by picking “hot” stocks. In fact, very few people actually travel those two routes. But in working toward your investment goals, you need to be persistent — and one of the best ways to demonstrate that persistence is to invest automatically. How do you become an “automatic” investor? You simply need to have your bank automatically move money each month from a checking or savings account into the investments of your choice.

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New shop offers nostalgic finds, new work by local artists

Another outlet for local artists to display and sell their wares has opened. Sweet Nostalgia, a small shop tucked neatly into the Twin Pines Shopping Center, adjacent to the Small Café, opened early last month. The store has a mix of unique antique finds, thrift shop deals, and art gallery-quality local creations. Owner Diane Arnold said she wanted a space that offered a mix of both old and new affordably priced merchandise. Arnold said she didn’t want to open just another thrift shop, which have dominated the ribbon cutting ceremony scene for some time, but a place that sold hand-picked treasures.

Tonto Basin bridge rights-of -way purchase moves forward

Gila County took the next small step on the long, long road to an all-weather bridge across Tonto Creek in Tonto Basin this week in the course of the a meeting dominated by budget decisions. The Gila County Board of Supervisors gave county public works permission to send offers to five property owners from whom it must purchase rights-of-way so the bridge project can move forward. The supervisors on June 5 heard the request from Steve Sanders, who said the offers would range from $704 to $137,800 and total $271,659.

Pipeline drives hefty jump in Payson’s budget

Layoffs averted — cost of town’s operations remains little changed and slew of police department vacancies

The Payson Town Council on Tuesday adopted a budget that avoids threatened layoffs and boosts town spending significantly — mostly as a result of the start of construction of the $34 million Blue Ridge pipeline. Town spending will most likely increase to about $14 million, a hefty a 60 percent jump from this year’s projected year-end total of $8.7 million. However, a $4 million increase in spending on the pipeline accounts for the vast majority of the projected increase. That money comes from federal grants and loans and saved-up impact fees.

Adorable Adoptables

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

Wednesday, June 6

Blue ribbon desserts

Preserve your favorite fruits to enjoy year-round

There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh berries and crisp, juicy apples. And when those mouthwatering flavors get paired with just the right spices in some delicious dessert favorites, it’s even better. You can enjoy fresh fruit flavors any time when you preserve your favorite fruits. With the perfect blend of all-natural spices from Mrs. Wages mixes (available at Walmart, according to the brand’s Web site, and online at or a similar product, you can cook, then freeze or can your favorite fruits and they’ll be ready for baking any time you’re ready — it’s like having a dessert in a jar.

Gardeners share secrets at annual tour

Get a glimpse of some of the best gardens in the Rim Country and learn some of the secrets of top gardeners at the annual Rim Area Gardeners Mogollon Garden Tour. The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 16.

Cooler climes of Pine calling

Cooler climes are calling in the Rim Country this weekend. Head up to Pine for the 16th Annual Strawberry Patchers Quilt Show and the 22nd Annual Strawberry Festival. Both events will be at the Pine Community Center, which is in the center of Pine, to the west side of Highway 87. The quilt show kicks things off, taking place in the cultural hall of the community center and opening at 9 a.m., Friday, June 8 and continuing until 5 p.m.; it will be open again from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 9 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 10.

Fun in New Mexico and Colorado

A very interesting automobile trip from Payson would be driving to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M. and on to Durango, Colo. You’ll see beautiful scenery as well as partake in some fun, especially in Durango. Get on I-40 heading east and first go to Albuquerque. This is a good day’s drive and there are many places to bed down for the night.

Another look at some Sunflower mining history

The recent Sunflower Fire is in an area with a rich mining history, some of which probably burned during the course of the fire. Let’s take a look back. The mines in the Sunflower area are probably best known for their production of mercury. But there were other minerals mined, as this clip from the July 26, 1908 Bisbee Daily Review shows.

Face to face

Just came from a great restaurant where I had lunch with a great dear friend. So as the waitress placed the overflowing yummy ingredients of my cobb salad in front of me, then placed the aroma-rich cranberry chicken salad of my friend, we prayed and settled into a much-needed time of visiting, laughing and catching up on many things we have neglected. We so enjoyed our time together!

Watchful waiting for prostate cancer?

My problem is premature ejaculation. I am on no medicines. Are there any vitamins or supplements that would help me?

Good 2 Go

The public libraries in Payson, Pine and Tonto Basin are getting ready for their summer reading programs. The Tonto Basin Public Library just has parents come in and register their children for the program and then has a party with awards for those who have participated after a few weeks. Stop by the library or call (928) 479-2355 for more details.

Tuesday, June 5

Barely any clues

Frustrating search for rogue bear turns up only fading footprint

A bear that clawed a camper through her tent last week remains on the loose. Arizona Game and Fish officials say an exhaustive search of the area around Ponderosa Campground this weekend yielded no new clues to the bear’s whereabouts. The large black bear ripped a hole in a tent early Thursday morning in the campground where a 74-year-old woman, her husband and their dog were sleeping. The bear took a swipe at the woman, leaving her with bruises and a laceration on the scalp.

Robbery suspect arrested

Officers also nab accomplice, others on drug charges

Police say they have arrested a man believed to have robbed a woman at gunpoint last week as she withdrew money from a bank ATM. Officers arrested Douglas Ralph Henneman, 36, on Monday and charged him with armed robbery and theft. Police say Henneman pointed a silver handgun at a woman at the Chase Bank drive-thru ATM May 20 and demanded her money.

Governor denies Flibotte’s appeal

Realtor’s 90-year sentence stands despite plea by Clemency Board

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has rejected a former local real-estate agent’s request for a reduction in his 90-year sentence for possession of child pornography. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency in February recommended the governor commute Robert Thomas Flibotte’s sentence to five years in jail with lifetime probation, but the governor nonetheless denied the appeal, according to Jesse Hernandez, chair of the clemency board. The governor’s office offered no comment.

Schools struggle as Payson child poverty rate soars

Share of low-income families doubles at Payson Elementary

A stunning 79 percent of students at Payson Elementary School live at or near the poverty line, prompting the Payson Unified School District to convert the school into a full Federal Title I school, to give kids extra help. The percentage of PES students from families that qualify for free and reduced school lunches has jumped from 44 percent four years ago to 79 percent this year, prompting Superintendent Casey O’Brien to take the issue to the school board. Payson schools have received federal, anti-poverty Title I funds for years.

Forest restoration contract sparks a firestorm of criticism

The U.S. Forest Service’s choice of an out-of-state contractor to thin 300,000 acres of overgrown, fire-prone forests has drawn a seemingly universal chorus of complaints from groups closest to the process. The selection of Pioneer Associates to undertake the largest thinning and forest restoration project in Forest Service history prompted protests by both environmental groups and county officials. The conservation groups worried mostly about whether the contractor will go after big trees instead of focusing on small trees.

Community Almanac

There is such a thing as a free lunch. Payson Schools Food Service will offer free lunch to any children age 18 and under at Rim Country Middle School through Friday, July 13. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed Wednesday, July 4).

RCMS counselor imperative

If you think Rim Country Middle School should have at least one full-time trained counselor, please contact a Payson Unified School District school board member.

Service clubs need support

Rim Country is blessed with a fine collection of service clubs that support our community in countless ways.

Santorum supports torture

When I “introduced” ALEC to Payson Roundup readers, I intended only to provide facts.

Gisela clean-up a success

In the fast paced, activity packed era that we are currently living, it is a pleasant surprise to witness folks finding the time to pull together on a Saturday morning in May to do a full-blown community clean-up.

Gobbledygook from the Bureaugurus

Lord knows, we don’t want to jump to conclusions. Just because the steaks are gone and there’s dog-slobbered styrofoam and plastic all over the living room floor don’t mean Lobo ate the meat. Just because the baby’s crying and the nursery smells like an outhouse don’t mean it’s time to change the diaper. Just because the check for the bass boat cleared and the check for the mortgage bounced don’t mean you got no money sense.

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Sky High Learning

JRE students launch rockets and imaginations

Phhhhhht….! “Whoa!” “Wow!” “Lookit it go!” Fifth-graders at Julia Randall Elementary cried out as rockets flew into the air. About 180 students spent the last week of school building six-inch rockets to launch over the playground. Principal Rob Varner took time out of his day to check out the action. “I think this is a great activity,” he said, “Talk about the science behind rocketry.” The project teaches students about the parts of a rocket; the aerodynamics of its flight, Newton’s laws of motion, how the center of gravity and pressure affect the flight, and how the fuel they use propels the rocket.

Wells Fargo agent gets ‘premier’ status

Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network has named Christopher S. Smith, managing principal of Chris Smith Investments, a member of the firm’s Premier Advisors Program. This distinction reflects Smith’s achievement of professional success through a consistent commitment to client service, according to a press release from the company.

Medicare and mental health

Mental health problems like depression and anxiety can affect anyone’s life at any age. If you think you have a mental health condition, Medicare may be able to help. The symptoms of mental health issues include feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness; a lack of energy; and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. You might find yourself losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, or even having thoughts of ending your life. Medicare’s coverage of mental health includes outpatient and inpatient treatment, as well as prescription drugs.

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Celebrating quilts at thrift store

June is here, that delightful month of long, sunny days and warm evenings. June is a gentle month made for being outside, whether having lunch on the patio, gardening, stargazing or simply savoring life in Rim Country. It is a month of blossoms. The honeysuckle at the side of our house just finished blooming and is now threatening to take over the rest of the building. We try to keep it trimmed, but if we turn our backs for a day or two, its tendrils sneak out and grasp whatever is within reach. It is lush and green and seems to thrive on neglect. June is the month of roses.

Clubs and Organizations

The Women of the Moose meet at 6 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at the lodge. The Loyal Order of the Moose meetings are at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. The lodge has a Thursday Fish Fry from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and weekly dinner specials are available.

Step back scramble for PMGA

The Payson Men’s Golf Association has over the decades hosted many uniquely formatted tournaments that have tested the skills, problem solving abilities and creativity of its members. But a “Step Back Scramble” played May 30 at Payson Golf Course might have been one of the most unique. PMGA member Herb Sherman described the format as, “After each shot, whoever is chosen ‘steps back’ and the other three shoot the next shot.” Say what? Let’s go to another source, the Internet, to learn even more.

Glory days still cast a glow

Hall of Fame football coach Frank Kush must have had twinkle in his eye and a glow in his heart after hearing the announcement last week in Tempe that new Arizona State coach Todd Graham is going to return the Sun Devil football team to Camp Tontozona for preseason training. It was Kush who, more than 50 years ago, spearheaded the move to use Tontozona as a training site for his first Sun Devil football teams. Those sessions, as grueling and demanding as they were, obviously paid huge dividends in the win-loss column. During Kush’s 22 seasons at ASU, all of which included stints at Tontozona, the Devils compiled a 176-54-1 record. Most importantly for Devil worshippers, he dominated the series against the University of Arizona, compiling a 16-5 record.

Learn how to use social media to expand your business

For many small-business owners, understanding what social media is and then applying it to drive in new customers is a daunting task. What is a tweet? How do I create a page on Facebook? These are questions Kimber Lanning with Local First Arizona gets frequently. On June 12 and 26, Lanning, along with colleague Russ Baurichter, will try to help business owners figure out what Twitter and Facebook are and how to leverage them to grow their business.

Former Game and Fish employee pleads guilty in Internet sex case

A former state Game and Fish Department employee pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl over the Internet for sex. Travis Edward Foster, 45, pleaded guilty April 30 to five counts of attempted aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation, according to court records. A grand jury had indicted Foster on 22 counts of luring a minor. A judge will sentence Foster June 26 at 4 p.m. in a Yavapai County Superior Court courtroom. Foster remains out on release conditions after posting a $25,000 bond.

Randall, McMullen earn D-III plaudits

The AZSportsnetwork has named a pair of Payson High School baseball players to its post-season All-Division III team. Chance Randall was tapped to the first team and Nick McMullen was chosen to the second team. Randall played third base most of the season but also saw some action at catcher. “He could have made it at third base as well, but we placed him here (at catcher),” said AZSportsnetwork officer ‘Coach Pichotta.’ “I mean his walks were Barry Bonds scary as teams would rather give him a free base.” McMullen, a first baseman and outfielder was named all D-III as an outfielder.

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Lady Horns snubbed in post-season voting

The Bermuda Triangle, Loch Ness Monster, Stonehenge and the Fountain of Youth are some of the great mysteries of the world. But after recent tabulations of coaches’ voting for All-Division III and All-Section III softball players, another puzzler could be added to the list. It involves the fact only one PHS player, Arianna Pauslon, was selected for postseason honors after the Lady Horns wrapped up the finest season in school history, finishing 29-4 overall, advancing to the state tournament semifinals and compiling the most power points in the division during regular season play. Local sports aficionado Brian McMinimy is among those taken aback by the exclusion of the Lady Horns from individual post-season laurels, “Ridiculous — Payson had a season for the ages and the awards should have reflected that.”

School district faces computer ‘disaster’

Board approves new IT position to keep 1,200 computers from crashing

With little resistance, the Payson school board unanimously voted to increase staff in the Information Technology (IT) department after an alarmed Casey O’Brien threatened the school district would cease to function if the board did not beef up IT personnel. “I’m looking at an IT department of two people,” said O’Brien, “If this happens, our IT will fail.” Three years ago, seeing an opportunity to save money by combining two IT positions into one, the school district merged the IT director position with the student data reporting position, said O’Brien. Since that time, the network of computers at the district has increased from 700 to 1,200, and the IT department has limped along with a single staff member doing the job of two people, said O’Brien, Now she has been offered a higher paying job with a lighter workload in the private sector.

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Novack reaps post-season awards

The awards keep rolling in for Payson High School baseball player Cale Novack. The onslaught of post-season recognition began two weeks ago when coaches voted him to the All-Division III, Section III first team and continued a week later when he was tapped to the All-Division III team. Later, he was chosen to play in the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game and on Sunday, June 3, he was tapped All-Division III second team by the Arizona Republic newspaper. Also, the AZSportsnetwork chose the PHS senior to the D-III third team.

Gila County attorney shows off Egypt expertise

The ongoing political turmoil in Egypt is half a world away from Payson, but on Wednesday, residents got an update on the region’s happenings from an unlikely source. Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores spoke for more than an hour on the upcoming run-off election to seat a new Egyptian president after the overthrow of the country’s ruler Hosni Mubarak last year. A judge recently sentenced Mubarak to life in prison on corruption charges as well as his involvement in the killings of 850 protesters at the start of revolt overthrew him in January 2011.

Friday, June 1

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Thanks for support on our big day

The month of May is now behind us for another year, but not without a few surprises. Last week the temperature got down to freezing in the village and killed a few of my flowers, and left shriveled up leaves on many of the shrubs and trees including my neighbor’s grape vines. I only hope that what ever blossoms were on the apple tress that they survived that frost.

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ATV club promotes fun and safety

If you love the Rim Country, and you love riding ATVs, the Rim Country Riders ATV Club is for you. The group welcomes residents, weekend visitors and out-of-towners to join them for riding, fun, friendship and promoting safety awareness and respect for our forest. The members are ATV enthusiasts from all walks of life who enjoy the great outdoors. Many of the founding members have been riding together for years, including acting club president Cindy Mack and her husband, Bob, owners of the Ponderosa Market. Other riders include a former warden and other retired law enforcement professionals, a former mayor, a senior librarian, teachers, business owners and even a dog named Jack.

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Tonto Forest will remain open, officials say

Fire restrictions remain in effect for most areas

A slew of Memorial Weekend citations for violations of existing fire restrictions has increased the odds of forest closure. With rainfall one-third of normal and the fire season off to a frightening early start, local officials worry that the current ban on fires, firearms and firecrackers might not be enough to prevent a fire in the tinder-dry forests. However, Forest Service officials will only say they continue to evaluate whether to close the forest, but have not made a firm decision on when — and whether — they’ll act.

Where do kids get such crazy ideas?

About the middle of the third grade, the tropical islands of the Pacific began to take on a special meaning for me. Someone gave me a book for Christmas, a wonderful book, one I read from cover to cover during the bitter cold New York winter of 1940, not once but three whole times.  What a book it was for an eight-year-old! What a contrast with that miserable winter! 

Losing school counselor will be devastating for students

I am greatly disappointed with the decision to eliminate the counselor position at Rim Country Middle School.

Disappointed by Sherlock

I am wondering if I am the only one that finds public television’s new “Sherlock Holmes” a crock of pretentious sewage.

Clubs and Organizations

Rim Country men — residents and visitors alike — are invited to enjoy Breakfast for a Buck at 8 a.m., Saturday, June 2 at Ponderosa Bible Church, 1800 N. Beeline Highway, Payson. The breakfast is prepared by Keith Talley and his crew and the accompanying meeting will also feature Larry Derocher, speaking about “Life, divine appointments, and thanking God for answered prayers.”



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Rogue bear swats camper

Arizona Game and Fish is hunting a bear that ripped through a couple’s tent early Thursday morning in a popular campground just east of Payson. The bear reportedly swiped a couple’s tent and clawed the head of a 74-year-old woman sleeping inside. The woman was treated at Payson Regional Medical Center for non-threatening injuries and released. The attack prompted Tonto National Forest officials to close Ponderosa Campground and the surrounding area until Aug. 31. David Daniels, wildlife manager with Game and Fish, said he had been looking for the bear since soon after the attack, but had not located it as of Thursday night.

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ASU reportedly raises enough money to guarantee training at Rim Country camp

The Arizona State University Sun Devils football team will reportedly officially announce its return to Camp Tontozona sometime today, June 1, at a press conference on the school’s campus in Tempe. Although ASU spokesperson Kevin Miniefield, himself a former Sun Devil football star, wouldn’t say officially the return is a done deal, all indications are the school has raised the $150,000 it needs to return to the scenic mountain retreat. “Fund-raising is going very well,” Miniefield said. “We are optimistic that we will reach our goal.” On May 23, ASU announced it had raised just under $133,000.

Rescuers save man from fire

Fire crews arrive barely in time to save man in Star Valley, while arson suspected in Payson fire

Forest fires aren’t the only things heating up Rim Country. The Hellsgate and Payson Fire departments each responded to house fires this week, one suspicious and one that nearly melted a man’s feet off. In the Star Valley fire, crews arrived just in time to save a man trapped in his house by the flames caused by his grill. In Payson, no one was injured in the fire in a rental house just off South McLane Road, but investigators suspect arson.

Woman robbed at gunpoint

For the second time this year, a motorist has been robbed at gunpoint at a Payson drive-thru ATM. On May 20, a masked man used a gun to force a woman withdrawing money from the Chase Bank ATM, 201 S. Beeline Highway, to hand over money.

Two big events in Rim Country this weekend

Two major events will keep everyone busy this weekend. The Payson, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department, along with commercial sponsors, will present the Mountain High Games Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3 at the Payson Event Center.

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Board supports principal’s plan

But plan to hire full-time athletic director instead of vice principal provokes split vote, many comments

The Payson school board on May 29 voted 3-2 to delay hiring a high school vice principal to instead hire an athletic director (AD)/dean of students. One week ago, incoming Payson High School (PHS) Principal Anna Van Zile had suggested putting off hiring a vice principal for a year and instead hire a full-time AD/dean for the upcoming year. The current half-time athletic director, Gary Fishel, has a contract to return to the classroom, although he says he will apply for the full-time administrative position. Next year, Van Zile’s plan calls for adding a full-time vice principal, bringing the high school back to three full-time administrators for the first time since layoffs started three years ago.

Candidates file papers for August primary

All three seats on Gila County’s board of supervisors are up for election this year and candidates seeking those seats had to file their nominating papers Wednesday. Also up for election are the county offices of judge, Superior Court Division 1; attorney; assessor; treasurer; school superintendent; recorder; and sheriff. The terms of all of these county offices are from 2012 through 2016.

Community Almanac

There is such a thing as a free lunch. Payson Schools Food Service will offer free lunch to any children age 18 and under at Rim Country Middle School through Friday, July 13. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed Wednesday, July 4). Parents and older members of the children’s families may have lunch for just $2.50. Contact Christine Murphy, Payson Schools Food Service, (928) 472-5703, for more information.

Executive order is attack on the Constitution

Recently President Obama issued and signed Executive Order 13575 to put all of America’s rural lands under total government control.

Obama models policies after France

It may be that the Obama campaign has developed a form of tone deafness.

Obama defender doesn’t know the facts

Apparently, Obama Kool-Aid drinkers have problems with facts.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters honors volunteers

Most any volunteer will say they don’t give hundreds of hours each year in hopes of receiving an award or accolades, they do it because they know how much spending a few hours with a child can mean. Several such giving volunteers were celebrated May 16 at the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Event. For the past five years, Mark Lyons and Chaparral Pines have sponsored the celebratory dinner at the Chaparral Pines clubhouse. This year, Jennifer and Richard Hinkie were named Big Couple of the Year; Austin Shannon was awarded High School Big Brother of the Year and Shoshanah Wright received High School Big Sister of the Year.

We can’t even give it away ...

School board questions group’s donation for teacher stipends

The Payson Association for Advanced Learners (PAAL) has faced problems figuring out how to get the Payson Unified School District to accept a cash gift to provide stipends for teachers taking on extra responsibilities. But on May 21, the parent-teacher group did manage to donate some money for the district to pay teachers who had spent time working with advanced learners above and beyond their normal teaching requirements. For weeks previous to the May 21 meeting, the organization vainly sought a slot on the board’s agenda. When the group finally did get a slot on the agenda, it was too late for the teachers to get their stipend until after the summer, said PAAL president Laurel Wala. The delay in payment represents a hardship for teachers, since they do not receive a paycheck for the eight weeks of summer they do not teach.

What's your emergency plan?

Most of us are aware of the devastating wildfires in the surrounding area recently, but what many people don’t often think about is what they would do in a natural disaster such as a wildfire or flood. Being that our state is frequently victimized by wildfires, we need to ensure that we have personal disaster plans in place. Being that a large percentage of people in Payson and the surrounding communities own companion animals, the Humane Society of Central Arizona would like to surface the topic of preparedness prior to an emergency occurring. A simple plan such as having an emergency bag packed with your pet’s necessities could be a savior during an emergency. When a disaster strikes, you really want to be prepared and run out the door, right?

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Pine Creek Canyon Road work going smoothly

Roadwork on the Pine Creek Canyon Road in Pine is going just about as smoothly as, well, roadwork can go, officials say. Although the project hit a few speed bumps after work started May 1 — mostly with utilities — residents and motorists have been cooperative and patient, said Steve Stratton, Gila County public works director. Work includes widening and paving roughly 5,000 feet of Pine Creek Canyon Road starting from the intersection with Highway 87. Work is expected to wrap up in late October.

2012 Pitch, Hit, Run champions named

The Town of Payson has crowned its 2012 Aquafina Pitch, Hit and Run boys and girls age group overall champions. Among the boys, Nicholas Walter (7-8 years), Austin Rice (9-10), Kolten Ricke (11-12) and Nathan Walter (13-14) won titles. Brianna Marinelli (7-8), Lilli Vela (9-10) and Kelea Smith (11-12) won girls championships. A field of 24 youths competed in the contest held May 9 at Rumsey Park. Pitch, Hit and Run is the official youth skills competition of Major League Baseball. Over 4,000 competitions will be held this year around North America with winners possibly advancing to the National Finals during MLB All-Star week in Kansas City, Mo.

Much-honored coach to offer basketball camp

Aspiring basketball players have the opportunity June 11 to June 14 to improve their game and the tutelage of Longhorn head coach Joe Sanchez and retired Paradise Valley High School coach Bill Farrell. Members of the PHS varsity team will assist Sanchez and Farrell. The camp is open to boys and girls in grades three through nine. The camp will be held 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Wilson Dome. The fee is $40 per camper. Farrell has hosted similar camps in the past including a Spring Break Camp held in March. Farrell is one of the most recognized and respected names in prep basketball circles, having reaped about every coaching honor possible. He was the state’s boys basketball coach of the year in 1995 and 1997 and has won numerous regional coach of the year honors.

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Valley fishermen top guns at Willow Springs

While Valley-area anglers dominated the Willow Springs Summer Trout Tournament — which they annually do — a few Payson residents managed top-three finishes. Ed Heinecke fished his way to second place among the trout “Big Fish” competitors and was third in most weight on a stringer.

School board’s bleak choice

Would you rather cut off your right foot or your left hand? Rather be blind or deaf? Rather never see your brother again or your father? Alas, it seems like the Payson school board has to answer some such question at every other meeting these days. So the school board on a split vote this week narrowly approved Payson High School principal-in-waiting Anna Van Zile’s plan to make the athletic/activities director full time and put off hiring a vice principal.

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AIA proposes schedule fix

Confusing division/ section alignment may be on way out

It may soon be possible to say goodbye to jumbo-sized sections of 14 or more teams, a confusing power point formula, computer scheduling and coaches voting for an all-section team without ever having seen the nominees play. All were perplexing parts of the division/section alignment that two years ago replaced the conference/region configuration that had been used in the state’s high school sports for decades. The changes were some of the most sweeping ever done in high school sports in Arizona.

Ex-coach shines on links

Gary Campbell is a darned good football coach who won six “Coach of the Year” honors during his 34-year career at Norco High School in California. Now retired and living in Payson, Campbell is playing golf with the same enthusiasm he once put into coaching football.

Please be mindful of neighbors while enjoying summer

Hello again, fellow Creekers. I’ve gotten a slew of emails and phone calls here recently all related to the same subject (no doubt because the summer weather is here and more people are out and about). With that, I’d like to share some sentiment on thoughtfulness and being neighborly. Driving responsibly, keeping the noise down, and not littering are all simple things we can do to help be more neighborly and make Christopher Creek a better place.

Concerts in the Park start Saturday night

It’s summer outdoor music time again in Payson! This Saturday begins our Parks & Rec’s nine-week Saturday nights summer concert series at Green Valley Park, featuring local and Valley bands performing a nice variety of music genres. A little something for everyone. Kicking off the “Under the Stars” program this Saturday night from 7 p.m. ’til 9 p.m. is a group of six young men from Phoenix — MC6 A Cappella — who will reach back through the years, bringing us doo-wop favorites from the ’50s and ’60s. My kind of music.