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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The political scene in our state is toxic and it’s a mess.
Like a snake with many heads, some topics continue to be de-fanged, only to have another version appear.
Everybody in America seems angry and divided on many issues, including myself.
$12 billion a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reports are circulating in the Payson area that State Route 260 is closed due to a forest fire. The reports are not true.