Blair River To Be Honored By Univ. Of Phoenix


The University of Phoenix is poised to honor one of Payson’s favorite sons.

In ceremonies to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 17, on the school’s main campus in Phoenix, university officials will rename the Student Resource Center in honor of Blair River who was an employee and student at the school prior to his untimely death on Feb. 28, 2011 from flu complications.

The renaming of the center and the accompanying celebration is occurring on what would have been the former Longhorn football and wrestling star’s 31st birthday.

River’s mother, Kathy, his daughter, Sascha, and other family members will attend the event that will eventually include the issuing each year of two scholarships in River’s memory.

The scholarships will be for $5,000 each.

At the ceremony, birthday cake will be served and orange balloons released as a tribute to River, whose favorite color was orange.

Also during the afternoon, Sascha and family members will unveil a memorial display that has been constructed in River’s memory.

Because River was an Arizona Cardinals fan, some who attend are expected to don the team’s colors and gear.

At Payson High, River starred as a defensive lineman on the Longhorn 1998 undefeated state championship team.

Years earlier, at Rim Country Middle School, he was a two-way starter on the Mavericks’ first-ever tackle football team, which was also undefeated and won the White Mountain League title.

River also shined in wrestling at both schools, winning the Class 3A state heavyweight championship as a PHS senior.

During the 2011 season, Longhorn football players wore “58” on their helmets as a tribute to River, who wore that jersey number during his career at PHS.

Also at a Sept. 2, 2011 game, the team honored River and his family during halftime ceremonies

As good as he was in sports, friends, coaches and teachers remember River as a young man with strong character who was loyal, respectful and compassionate.

A numerical faux pas

As a former public school math teacher, I was quick to correct students who were careless with where they placed a decimal point when doing calculations. I also asked they carefully check place values to be sure they were correct

Well, guess what?

I did exactly what I told my students to never do while writing the story “Bacon Hooks lunker-sized trout” that appears on page B-2 in the March 13 edition of the Payson Roundup.

I mistakenly wrote that a Class U, or Urban, fishing license costs $198.50.

That amount would be a little pricey even for such dedicated fishermen as new Roundup editor Pete Aleshire who is so enamored with angling that his personal motto is “Fish tremble at the sound of my name.”

The price for the Urban license, which is needed to fish at Green Valley Park, is actually $18.50.

My bad.

Youth football at ASU

Newly appointed ASU head coach Todd Graham is hosting the Sun Devil Experience clinic at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, March 31 inside Sun Devil Stadium.

The clinic is open to both boys and girls, ages 8 to 13, who are not enrolled in ninth grade or above.

It is open to the first 500 youth to register.

The Sun Devil coaching staff and several of the current players will conduct the camps, which will focus on form tackling, ball skills, blocking and running.

Youths attending should wear sweats or sweatpants and a T-shirt preferably representing Arizona State University.

Participants will not wear helmets or shoulder pads and are asked not to wear apparel from any university other than Arizona State.

Check-in for the clinic is 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and parents must stay on the premises until the conclusion of the clinic at about 12:30 p.m.

Those who arrive early to the clinic are invited to watch the Sun Devil football team practice, beginning at 9 a.m.

To register, go to or call Jill Adams at (480) 965-3037.


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