Stories for May 2012

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Thursday, May 31

Camp Fire Safety Message

Please review the following video courtesy of Show Low Fire Department. I am the public information officer for our Northeastern Public Information System www.593info.org as well as the Fire Restriction Committee in Apache and Navajo Counties.

Wednesday, May 30

Good 2 Go

Cool June evenings make for a perfect time to walk Historic Main Street with friends, neighbors and visitors. Be sure to join Ken and Brenda for fun, music and refreshments at Bootleg Alley Antiques & Art, 520 W. Main St., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, June 1. Enjoy the music of Junction 87, take a picture with the Payson Jail Girls while purchasing rodeo raffle tickets, buttons and shirts.  The Humane Society of Central Arizona will accept donations and is selling raffle tickets.

Summer family travel suggestions

When you are in the planning stages of your vacation, sit down with everyone and figure out what kind of vacation each person wants. Selecting a vacation that suits everyone isn’t easy, but if you let the whole family make suggestions as to their wishes, perhaps it will be easier in the long run to experience. Teens are probably the most difficult to please. If you want to relax on the beach, your teen wants to hang out in an arcade. Teens just don’t want to sit in a nice spot for several days.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 19: Shootout On Main Street, Part 2

In part one of the Jack Lane story (The Rim Review May 2), newcomer cowboy Jack Lane spent his first weekend in Payson getting drunk and then racing his horse up and down Main Street, shooting his gun in the air. Finally stopping in front of the 16-to-1 Saloon, next door to JP Colonel Randall’s office, he and the judge had an argument about his behavior. As Lane waved his pistol in the air, threatening the judge, Bill Colcord arrived on the scene with his own pistol drawn.  When Lane swung suddenly and pointed his pistol at him, Colcord shot Lane. Witnesses heard up to four shots, but it could not be determined at the time if some of them were from Lane shooting at Colcord.

SCHOOL’S OUT!

Summer activities aplenty for all ages

School came to a close this past week. Now it’s time to find something to keep the kids busy for the next eight weeks or so. Plenty of summer fun is out there, just waiting for the Rim Country’s young people, their visiting friends, parents, grandparents and others. Visit the pool at Rumsey Park, check out the barrel racing and pole bending practices at the Payson Event Center, see what the libraries have planned for their summer reading programs or get enrolled in a parks and recreation program.

Extraordinary sides for a red-hot BBQ

When it’s time for a backyard barbecue, you want the side dishes to get just as many raves as what’s hot off the grill. You can make your side dishes sizzle, too, with a few simple ideas and the perfect pasta salad. • Grill more than meat. Grilled fruits and veggies showcase the flavors of the season. Try grilling peppers, onions, corn on the cob, or summer squash for a fresh veggie platter. Skewer peaches, pineapple, mangos and watermelon for some sweet and smoky fruit kebabs.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The Rim Country Museum, located in Green Valley Park, is participating in the Blue Star Museums program this summer with the American Association of Museums, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Blue Star Families Foundation in support of the Blue Star Museums program for 2012. Blue Star participants agree to offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day, providing an engaging, enlightening family outing to those Americans who most epitomize sacrifice.

Mountain High Games June 1-3

The Mountain High Games take place June 1-3 at Payson Event Center with a wide variety of fun and challenging events for people of all ages and skill levels.

When the heart becomes a feeble pump

Is congestive heart failure a death sentence?

Tuesday, May 29

HS faces safety violations

An anonymous complaint filed against Payson High School’s woodshop has exposed a number of safety violations. An inspector with the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) found four infractions after someone lodged a complaint that lacquer was being sprayed improperly. This is the first an OSHA complaint has ever been filed against the school.

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Grief, honor and memory

Memorial Day draws Payson crowd

More than 300 people crowded the sun-drenched grass in front of Payson’s war memorial Monday morning facing fitful breezes and painful memories to honor those who have died in the nation’s wars. Since the Revolutionary War, more than 840,000 Americans have died in combat, including more than 3,000 Arizonans. That includes some 6,000 in combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some 1.3 million have died from all causes related to their wars.

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Pokémon generation cheers, tosses caps

Class of 2012 wants to ‘be the very best like no one ever was’

As gusts of wind blew across the Payson High School field at 20 miles per hour, and the sun set, the class of 2012 ended their childhood education to move onto the next phase of their life during the evening graduation ceremony. “Parents won’t understand this ... we’re the Pokémon generation ...!” said valedictorian Sam Grassel as he clutched at the sashes draped over his graduation gown to keep them from blowing away. The 2012 graduating seniors roared with approval.

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Lead bullet ban urged to save condors

The government should ban the use of lead bullets to save the struggling condors of northern Arizona, according to a coalition of environmental groups who have threatened to file a lawsuit if the U.S. Forest Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department fail to act. Lead poisoning from bullet fragments in game animals remains the leading cause of death among the 60 condors released in the rugged Vermillion Cliffs area north of the Grand Canyon.

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One kinda lucky kitty cat

Television cop shows have documented the heart-touching scene for years: A wayward kitten finds itself up a tree and out on a limb with no way home. In the dramatic scenario, our hero in firefighter garb grabs the kitten and carries it down to safety, usually reuniting it with a grateful owner. So when Rick Finkler, owner of the Cabins on Strawberry Hill, found his beloved cat Salsa stranded 40 feet up a ponderosa pine tree Monday night, he did what he thought anyone would do. He called the closest place with the longest ladder — the fire department.

Teen trapped in rollover wreck tops busy night for police

Just after Payson High School’s graduation, firefighters responded to a rollover accident north of town. The rollover, which closed Highway 87 for several hours, happened near Flowing Springs Road, seven miles north of Payson just after 9 p.m. Reportedly, one juvenile was trapped in the vehicle. It is unknown if the vehicle’s occupants were coming from graduation festivities.

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Students win scholarships

While their plans after high school vary wildly from joining the Marines, attending Arizona State University to clueless, the 2012 class has left its mark. The students of Payson High School’s Class of 2012 collectively received $740,000 in scholarships, including $70,600 from local donors and organizations.

Community Almanac

The town’s Summer Rec Program will be held weekdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning May 29. There will be physical and cultural activities, field trips and more during the eight-week program. The program is open to youngsters who will be entering the first- through sixth-grades in the fall. The cost is $30 per child and includes lunch at Rim Country Middle School.

Bonita Creek firewise program is inspiring

My husband was reading the Roundup last night (Tuesday) and commented on the fact that the Dude Fire had been almost 23 years ago (next month).

Technology making it easier for Realtors to list, sell homes

Real estate technology has come a long way in the last decade. At one time, fax machines were indispensible and now they are hardly used. Scanning and e-mailing has taken their place because of the higher quality they offer. Technology is moving so fast that QR codes were popular for about 10 minutes before other applications replaced them.

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Grand Canyon needs a good flood ...

Releases from Glen Canyon Dam aim to improve Colorado River

WASHINGTON – The Interior Department said it will test high-volume water releases from the Glen Canyon Dam in an effort to simulate natural flooding and improve sediment flow through the Grand Canyon. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also announced Wednesday that the department will remove and relocate, rather than destroy, non-native fish species in the Colorado River as part of a long-term study on the river. “We’re protecting one of world’s most treasured landscapes,” said Salazar, who called the Colorado the “lifeblood” of the region for the water and power it provides.

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Payson High School Scholarship Awards

Tyler Aguirre (ASU): AIMS high honors award — $36,800. Ashley Ammann: (ASU) Dean’s Scholarship — $11,000 over four years. Tyler Apps (Grand Canyon University): President’s Scholarship $40,000 over four years. Sarah Cluff (ASU): Provost Scholarship $30,000 over four years. Samuel Grassel (ASU): AIMS high honors award — $36,800.

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Bands celebrate awesome year

Every year Payson school band enthusiasts gather on the grass behind the middle school gym to spread blankets, eat a picnic dinner and enjoy music the week before school ends. This year, the forest fires added drama to the performance by surrounding the town with plumes of smoke. As the sun set, it bathed the musicians in a striking red light. Mike Buskirk directs and emcees the Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) beginning and advanced bands.

Being Christian ain’t no fun

Hey, all you faithful Christians out there, don’t you know that according to Leon Chamberlain you are missing out on all the fun because of your high standards of morality.

Ponder the problem of energy use

I hear a lot of negative blather out there about certain kinds of power generation.

Teen defies adversity to win twin titles

Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader Monty James is only 14, but he already fits the glowing image of a rugged and bold cowboy who never shirks from a danger or duty in his life. The persona he carries is perhaps due to the courage and wherewithal he showed in rebounding from serious injuries he suffered over a year ago in an ATV accident. Gila County Youth Development 4-H Extension Leader Lani Hall is among those who has watched the teenager recover from the accident to become one of the Arizona Junior High School Rodeo Association’s finest competitors. “It’s amazing what Monty did, just amazing,” she said.

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Alumni spank PHS in inaugural showdown

Newly graduated senior takes top individual honors

A new Payson High School sports tradition teed off May 23 at Chaparral Pines Golf Club with the Longhorn state runner-up golf team taking on an alumni team comprised of players who were starring members of the high school’s 2001 to 2004 teams that won a state championship and several regional titles. Alumnus Brandan Kelley, a standout who played at Point Loma University after graduating from Payson High, calls the tournament, “a great time. We had so much fun reminiscing and the current players got to meet us ‘old guys.’”

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Payson pair bound for champs meet

The Payson angling team of Keith Hunsinger and Robert O’Donnell has qualified for the Western Outdoor News (WON) Tournament of Champions to be contested in September at Lake Mead. The duo earned the coveted berth by finishing third in the WON Arizona circuit tournament final standings. The duo competed in all six Arizona tournaments racking up 581 points with 24 bass that tipped the scales at 50.22 pounds.

Camps this summer will build teams

Casey Woodall’s goal as coach of the Payson High School wrestling team is to return the program to the prominence it enjoyed in the 1980s and ’90s when region and state championships were the norm. The coach, who is being applauded around the Rim Country for his dedicated work, knows the best way to regain the gleam is by building a strong foundation among younger wrestlers. His efforts to accomplish that include hosting the Payson Junior Wrestling Club for aspiring grapplers 4 to 12 years of age. Sessions are held at 6 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in Wilson Dome.

Socialism is a transition stage to Marxism

I wonder if Leon Chamberlain would approve of some government organization — say, the “Robin Hood Redistribution of Wealth Association” .

Both the living and the dead

Father Lowell Andrews called us all to account in his Memorial Day invocation. He bid us remember those who gave their lives, but also those who have come home broken in body, wounded in spirit. So many have died of these deep wounds, here among us — where they should have been safe. “So many died filthy and alone. So many died of cheap whiskey, malnourished. “So many have come home and prayed, ‘why couldn’t I have died in battle?’

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Advocates for children recognized for service

Helping kids in the court system

The Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA) recently honored 29 northern Gila County volunteers who have served as advocates for children from shattered families whose fate is caught up in the court system. In 2011 the CASAs in northern Gila County served 49 children on a total of 31 cases. They wrote 89 court reports which provided critical information to the court regarding what was in the best interest of the children they served. And, together these CASAs logged a grand total of 3,554 hours and drove 28,355 miles working on their cases.

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Volunteers make filing taxes easier

It takes most people roughly an hour to prepare a simple tax return. For volunteer Bob Sanchez, it takes just under 20 minutes. But speed isn’t what Sanchez strives for, accuracy and getting the best refund for taxpayers is. Sanchez, and the 35 volunteers with Payson’s AARP Tax-Aide program, take pride in providing free tax preparation services every year for the needy. Most volunteers have served with the program for years.

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Pine smokehouse piques palates

The Rim Country has never been known for great barbecue. We have a popular Thai restaurant and a few good Mexican and Italian establishments, but taste buds were bereft of smoked meats. After the quick departure of MoJoe’s Grill in Payson, any resemblance of a smokehouse could not be found for miles, until the recent opening of the Pine Creek Smokehouse in Pine, 3885 N. Highway 87; (928) 476-6577. Tucked in a nondescript building in the center of Pine’s main drag, the restaurant is putting out surprisingly tasty hand-smoked meats. Evident from diners’ empty dishes, everything is amazing. Sharon and Gary Zimmerman, part-time Pine residents, said the shaved prime rib sandwiches were some of the best.

Monday, May 28

A place that helps veterans in need

For many, Memorial Day is a day off from work or a time to gather with friends and family for the first cookout of the summer season. For those living in the Valley, it may be a time to escape the summer heat and descend upon the cooler towns in the Rim Country. Of course, the real meaning of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is to remember those men and women who have died while serving our country. Memorial Day was first observed 144 years ago, on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It’s now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971).

Friday, May 25

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A tale of two Sisters

“I’m shaking all over,” said a girl with jet-black hair and striking blue eyes, on the morning of a day she’s anticipated all her life. Oddly enough, she looks just like Payson High School senior Natalie Black. Well, actually: that’s not odd at all. She’s Natalie’s sister. But the two have never met — until today. And now after years of questions and quests, two families have arranged for these long-separated sisters to meet as a gift for Natalie’s graduation from high school.

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Nick of time!

Hellsgate nabs $607,000 federal grant to save firefighters’ jobs, adds battalion chief

Four Hellsgate firefighters will keep their jobs after the fire department received word on Friday that it is one of a handful of districts nationwide to receive a federal grant. Fire Chief Gary Hatch earlier this month sent termination letters to four engineers, more than half the department’s paid staff, to help close a projected budget deficit of $176,000. The department has already done without a battalion chief since May 2010 to help curb costs. Now the just-received federal $607,000 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant will not only save the jobs of all four engineers who drive the trucks, but allow the department to hire a new battalion chief.

For those who Fancy Felines

I think it’s safe to say that kitten season is officially here. Not only are kittens super adorable and cuddly, they are also very entertaining and fun. They are at the perfect age to integrate into your family if you have other pets and/or children. Currently we only have two kittens available for adoption, but that number is sure to increase within the next few weeks. The great thing about adopting a kitten, rather than getting one for free, is that your adopted kitten will be spayed/neutered, current on its shots, is FELV/FIV negative and micro-chipped. The thought of getting a free kitten can be alluring, but you won’t be able to get your free kitten fixed, chipped, wormed and vaccinated for under $200. Our adoption fee for kittens is $100 — now that’s a smokin’ deal. We hope that when you decide it’s time to add a furry little bundle of joy to your household, you’ll think adoption first.

HS job shuffle

School board skeptical about new position

In her first meeting with the Payson School Board, soon-to-be Payson High School (PHS) Principal Anna Van Zile on Monday faced a board skeptical of her proposal to shuffle duties to create a new position to showcase the importance of an athletic director. Van Zile suggested the board not fill her vacated post as vice principal for a year. Instead, she wants to shift duties to hire a full-time athletic director who would share a portion of her workload. Van Zile said she could for one year take on the lion’s share of the principal and vice principal duties if the proposed athletic director could handle some discipline and attendance responsibilities, even if lacking the administrative credential required of a vice principal.

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Crews fight winds to contain fires

The two wildfires burning closest to Payson have behaved themselves this week, despite continued “red flag” conditions. The Sunflower Fire remains at about 16,000 acres, but is now 43 percent contained. Only 84 firefighters continue to monitor the borders of the fire, located about 21 miles south of Payson. Although smoke from the fire remained ominous from Payson to Sunflower, the fire remained trapped between two previous burns. The flames continue to consume pockets of thick brush and chaparral in the Mazatzal Wilderness, but firefighters don’t think it can escape its confinement.

Late breaking flu season spurs warnings from doctors

Payson is experiencing local outbreaks of influenza causing more people to seek care or call in ill to work and school. Several of the cases in Payson have been laboratory confirmed and are strains that were covered in this year’s seasonal flu vaccine.

Payson’s budget picture brightens

Town officials cancel layoffs as estimates of revenue rise by $600,000

Payson officials ransacked their budget projections for spare change and windfalls and came up with an estimated $600,000 in added revenue — enough to avert threatened layoffs and probably even restore full funding to the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. A rise in projected state revenue sharing, a projected increase in taxes on utilities and other sources of money prompted the Payson Town Council to cancel a meeting last week it had called to set the layoff process in motion. “We went line by line by line by line,” said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans. “There’s not a rock left we haven’t turned over four times.”

Community Almanac

Opening day of the fourth season of the Payson Farmers Market is Saturday, May 26. Vendors expected to participate on opening day include Schneph Farms, which is bringing fresh-picked, juicy peaches this week. There will be pony rides for the kids too. The Payson Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday at 816 S. Beeline Highway (Sawmill Crossing), behind Chili’s. For more information, go online to paysonfarmersmarket.info.

People of Payson help make country great

Monday afternoon, May 7, my wife Mary and I, along with our two mules, Pearle and Pauline, two horses, Dan and Dusty, and our two dogs, Pete and Jr., rolled into Payson in our covered wagon just to check our mail and find a place to rest for the night. That was the plan.

Don’t paint us all with same brush

Hey, what’s with all the doom and gloom in the recent article entitled “County in poor health” where it says Gila County is ranked as the unhealthiest in the state. Really?

Mogollon Sporting Association says thanks

The Mogollon Sporting Association (MSA) would like to thank all of the many sponsors who generously donated prizes for the 20th annual MSA banquet held May 5 at the Mazatzal Casino.

Town’s financial tracking report shows sales perking up

Numbers reflect 12 percent jump in local sales tax revenues

Sales in Payson so far this year have risen a heartening 12 percent, according to the town’s financial tracking report for April. Moreover, the value of building permits issued rose a whopping 31 percent to $128,000, according to the report. The report showed signs of life in the local economy heading into the vital summer months, when tourism lifts economic activity — although local officials are already fretting about the economic impact of a possible forest closure due to extreme fire danger. The rise in local sales tax, vehicle license taxes, building permits, planning fees and other purely local sources of revenue would make town budget planners downright cheerful were it not for the deep cuts in most sources of revenue from the state.

Two PHS vocational students rank among state’s best

Two Payson High School students earned the first- and second-highest scores on their Career and Technical Education (CTE) state assessments, given to all students in the 47 vocational programs statewide. Payson High School senior Megan Ploughe was among three students who scored 95 out of 100 points on the Culinary Arts assessment, the highest in the state. Ploughe cooked every day in teacher Devon Wells’ Culinary Arts program for all four years of high school.

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Rim streams, lakes stocked for holiday

Thousands of trout stocked into local waters

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been busily stocking Rim Country streams and lakes in preparation for this weekend’s traditional kickoff to the summer travel season. The Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery stocked half a dozen streams flowing off the Mogollon Rim, including Tonto Creek, the East Verde River, Christopher Creek and Haigler Creek. The lakes atop the Rim also received a bumper crop of stocked trout, especially Willow Springs, Bear Canyon and Woods Canyon lakes. The following summary of Rim Country fishing conditions comes from the fishing report compiled by Rory Aikens with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more details and maps of stocking locations, go to the Game and Fish Web site and click on the fishing report.

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Star Valley ‘fat and happy’ despite ticket, tax decline

Speed cameras still yield $900,000 in revenue despite decline in tickets

Star Valley’s four budgetary workhorses need a feed bag of speeding tourists, with the town projecting another drop in photo enforcement revenue in next year’s fiscal budget. Fortunately for the town’s bottom line, Star Valley still expects to bank nearly $900,000 from the four cameras fixed at opposite ends of town. However, ticket revenue has dropped by 23 percent since Star Valley installed the cameras in 2008. Ticket revenue is not the only thing decreasing. City sales tax is also expected to continue its downward spiral. Although neighboring Payson this year saw a heartening rise in sales tax revenue, the numbers show that Star Valley’s businesses continue to struggle.

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Payson loses a pioneer for education

Doyle Coffey wasn’t a Rim Country pioneer — he didn’t come to town until 1982. But Doyle Coffey was a pioneer of another sort; he pioneered higher education in Rim Country. Coffey died May 18 and will be honored at services at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 26 at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 901 S. Westerly. For 30 years he worked tirelessly through his retirement on behalf of the community he called the “most beautiful place on earth.”

A dose of hope in a tasseled hat

Feeling discouraged? Fearful? Anxious? Wondering how we’ll cope with the world’s onslaught of problems and its dizzying pace of change? We have a cure — which you probably don’t need if you were lucky enough to attend the graduation ceremonies staged this week in schools all around Rim Country. But if you missed those ceremonies, with the bright kids, proud parents, long-suffering siblings, earnest speakers and great glitter of hope — just take a minute to page through the gradation tab you’ll find in today’s issue. Read about the extraordinary achievements of these students — our best and brightest hope. Then flip through the pages of pictures. What a great bunch.

Future of PHS athletics is an uncomfortable unknown

Trying to make sense of what is occurring in Payson High School athletic offices and what will unfold for next school year’s sports teams and coaches is as baffling as Bigfoot, Stone Hinge or the existence of alternative universes. First off, two head coaches — Byron Quinlan in football and baseball’s Scott Novack — have resigned and must be replaced. Then there is the matter of the athletic director. Gary Fishel is the current AD, but there are indications he might be on his way out to become a full-time head teacher at Payson Center for Success. Then there’s the issue of what the AD position will actually be next year.

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Memorial Day: How do you remember it?

When I think about Memorial Day in our community, I remember my childhood days seeing active and former military personnel salute the flag at the resounding, opening chords of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Even as a little kid, that moment made me stand tall and proud. Not much has changed since then. If military veterans were present, they stood at salute. Those who weren’t veterans placed their right hand over their heart, their gesture of thanks as a member of a grateful nation to those who did serve — an act of reverence for hard won freedoms dating back to the Revolutionary War. This nation has a long legacy of patriotism and we display it with pride. Not much has changed since then.

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Payson native, Silver Star winner honored

A Payson native who is the winner of the Silver Star was the honoree of the 2012 American Legion Riders Run for the Payson Supply Line. Matthew Binney, who was born in Payson and attended Payson High School, was honored at the ceremonies following the “Fun Run” which raised more than $10,000 for the Payson Supply Line. He is the son of George and Brenda Binney of Star Valley. The following tells the story of Binney’s heroic, award-winning actions and is from the Web site, militarytimes.com.

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Memorial Day services ‘Welcome Home Veterans’

The 2012 Memorial Day services in Payson will revolve around the theme, “Welcome Home Veterans,” and feature four different programs and separate venues. Everyone in the Rim Country — residents and visitors alike — is invited to participate in any or all of the services. There are two services on Sunday, May 27 and two on Monday, May 28. The annual Pioneer Cemetery tribute begins with a flag-raising ceremony at 8:30 a.m., Sunday, May 27. Presented by the Payson Woman’s Club, which owns and operates the cemetery, the program will include music by Don Gibson and a speaker, according to Pat Cline, president of the Woman’s Club. “We’re having it at 8:30 in the morning instead of 9:30, so everyone can go to the ceremony at the other cemetery,” Cline said.

Novack, Randall selected for all-section team

High School coaches have chosen Payson High senior Cale Novack and junior Chance Randall to the All-Division III, Section III baseball teams. Novack was named to the Section III first team as an outfielder. Randall, who played third base and catcher, was tapped to the Section III second team as a catcher. The honorees were chosen in online voting.

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Apps swings to senior golf title

Payson High School senior Tyler Apps capped his prep career in glowing fashion finishing as the boys gold medalist in the 2012 Thunderbird High School Senior Classic.

Grand Canyon Trust questions Forest Service’s choice

The Grand Canyon Trust has been a longstanding and strong supporter of landscape-scale forest restoration within northern Arizona. We have also been a strong supporter and founding member of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) — an effort that has unprecedented potential to address the environmental needs of northern Arizona’s forests in a socially responsible and economically viable fashion. We have long awaited the choice by the Forest Service of a preferred contractor for implementing the 4FRI’s first, 10-year contract. From the outset of the 4FRI process, we have supported the bidding process as an open and competitive one, recognizing the importance of finding the best contractor to meet 4FRI’s needs over the coming years.

Suspicious of forest thinning contract

My name is Tommie Cline Martin and I am a county supervisor for Gila County, Arizona, and a member of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) Stakeholder Group. Perhaps as important in this conversation, however, is my personal and professional background. My great-grandparents came by wagon into what is now the Payson-Star Valley area in the late 1800s, and my family has lived here from then until now. When they arrived, they found a healthy, functioning, productive land and, as a family, we have watched it deteriorate and die under federal direction and management ever since.

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The meaning of Memorial Day

This weekend is a big holiday for many of us. Do you know the significance of the Memorial Day holiday? It is not just about an extra day off from work, having a barbecue or camping out in the forest, etc. It is about honoring those men and women who sacrificed their lives in one of our many wars and they did it unselfishly to keep our nation free from hostile countries. It is about placing ‘Old Glory’ on a veteran’s grave or leaving a red poppy, which is a symbol of those who died.

Carlen wins silver at state decathlon

Payson High School senior Jaymi Carlen ran, jumped and threw her way to a second place finish in the 37th Arizona State Decathlon Champions that drew some of the finest all-around track and field athletes from around the state. The prestigious showdown tipped off May 18 and wrapped up the following day at Queen Creek High School. Prior to entering the decathlon, Carlen’s first, coach Johnathan Ball predicted she had to ability to exceed 4,000 points. His prognostication was on target as she finished with 4,698 points and was second overall to Mesa Mountain View’s Kaija Bramwell who racked up 5,140 points.

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Senior trio reaps Pettet scholarships

A trio of Payson High School’s most well-rounded seniors has reaped $4,000 in Mogollon Sporting Association scholarship money to be used next school year to help pay education expenses at three Arizona colleges. Sam Grassel, Natalie Black and Katelyn Curtis received the scholarships May 21 during an informal awards ceremony and barbecue cookout at Rumsey Park. Ted Pettet, the MSA member who the scholarships honor, was on hand to announce the recipients. Because Pettet was formerly a coach at Payson High and harbors a deep interest in sports, the scholarships annually honor graduating seniors who have excelled in athletics, extracurricular activities and academics.

Rec Roundup

Youth T-ball and Coach Pitch

This weekend, May 25-28 is the last opportunity to register your child online (paysonrimcountry.com) for Youth T-ball and Coach Pitch. Payson Parks is offering T-ball for boys and girls ages 4 and 5 and Coach Pitch for boys and girls ages 6 and 7. Registration is based on the age of your child as of May 1. Games will be played Monday-Thursday June 11 through July 16. Cost is $25 per child and includes their team shirt. Volunteer coaches are always needed.

Keeping the memory alive

Andrew Rivas celebrates Memorial Day in a special way. He remembers his brother, Raymond, with a long-distance memorial ride. His brother died in 2009 from a wound he suffered while serving with the U.S. Army in the Middle East. Rivas is retired from the military and now makes his home in Flagstaff. This is the third memorial ride he has made for his brother and this year the route will bring him to Payson around 4 p.m., Saturday, May 26. He plans to reach the Payson Airport, where he has been given permission to camp for the night, at about 4 p.m.

Clubs and Organizations

Members will have a private showing of Men In Black at the Sawmill Theater Saturday, May 26. Meet inside by the snack bar at 9:30 a.m. The $6 ticket includes popcorn and a soda. The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Bunch meets at Tiny’s Restaurant every week at 9 a.m. to visit and plan future activities. Monday morning bowling takes place at Rim Country Lanes at 10 a.m. the first and third Mondays of the month and there is a discount coupon available for those who participate. A trip to a Diamondbacks game is planned for Wednesday, June 20. Contact Fred at (928) 474-3413 for more information. A Singles Pot Luck

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Memorial Day Arts and Crafts Festival

Made in the U.S.A. Levi jeans, the American Flag, NBA and NFL jerseys - these items once prided themselves in being American-made. I am a passionate supporter of Made in America products, and that is what you will find this weekend at the Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild 32nd Annual Memorial Day Arts & Crafts Festival in Pine. “Made in America” items have been outsourced to other countries, but one thing you can count on is the American artist and crafter. In towns across America and here in Strawberry, Pine and the Rim Country, artists and crafters take pride in hand made craftsmanship with quality and unique items made right here in the good old U.S.A.

Can you imagine being there and seeing this? Part II

We left off last week at the point where a flat-bottomed rowboat, its outboard engine racing, was fighting a current of water dragging it toward a raging, quarter mile wide whirlpool in the middle of what was supposed to be an 11-foot deep lake. If anyone on the shore of the mile wide lake saw what was happening to the tiny flat-bottomed boat at that moment, it is not recorded. There was far too much going on for anyone except the two men in the boat to take much notice of their troubles. A $5 million drilling rig had just turned turtle and disappeared into the same whirlpool that was dragging the boat toward it.  And...

Make a place for veterans in need every day

For many, Memorial Day is a day off from work or a time to gather with friends and family for the first cookout of the summer season. For those living in the Valley, it may be a time to escape the summer heat and descend upon the cooler towns in the Rim Country. Of course, the real meaning of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is to remember those men and women who have died while serving our country.

Get out for food and fun around Christopher Creek this Saturday

Hello again fellow Creekers. Memorial Day is almost here and there are a few celebrations going on this weekend in Christopher Creek. Community barbecue The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Christopher Creek is holding a Memorial Day community barbecue and potluck. All are welcome to attend at 5 p.m., Saturday, May 26. The event will take place outside at the church. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. If you have any questions please contact Susan Palmer at the church, (928) 478-4882.

Motherhood starts before pregnancy

On Mother’s Day I read two articles that, as a high school teacher, I found significantly interconnected.

Chemistry FUNdamentals

Students’ demonstrations emphasize the role of science in everyday life

Payson High School chemistry students on May 12 hosted a “Chemistry Is Fun” exhibit at the Payson Public Library. Advanced Placement chemistry teacher Meena Rustagi and 35 students demonstrated entertaining science experiments to the delight of an audience ranging in age from 6 to 60.

Thursday, May 24

Memorial Day services ‘Welcome Home Veterans’

The 2012 Memorial Day services in Payson will revolve around the theme, Welcome Home Veterans, and feature four different programs and separate venues. Everyone in the Rim Country – residents and visitors alike – is invited to participate in any or all of the services. There are two services on Sunday, May 27 and two on Monday, May 28. The annual Pioneer Cemetery tribute begins with a flag-raising ceremony at 8:30 a.m., Sunday, May 27. Presented by the Payson Woman’s Club, which owns and operates the cemetery, the program will include music by Don Gibson and a speaker, according to Pat Cline, president of the Woman’s Club. “We’re having it at 8:30 in the morning instead of 9:30, so everyone can go to the ceremony at the other cemetery,” Cline said.

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Solar eclipse spurs family adventure

Months ago they told me we had to see it. “Mom!” said my youngest daughter, “Dad says there will be an eclipse over Lake Tahoe on May 20. He’s invited us to go!” she insisted, begging with her sweet, brown eyes. “I can drive,” said my eldest, “I’ll have my permit.” “No way, girls,” I shook my head, “Just no way,” I said with finality, thinking of the lost weekend, the family complications. “But Mom...you don’t want us to miss it,” said my youngest. Could I make them miss it? Hadn’t I always told them to accept life’s adventures?

Wednesday, May 23

atv rodeo, demo Derby are main events of games

The Friday night ATV Rodeo and the Saturday night Trucks Only Demolition Derby are the main events of the 2012 Mountain High Games.

ATV trail rides lead games events

The first activity for the 2012 Mountain High Games is the Friday night ATV Snowstorm Mountain Trail Ride. The ride will leave from the Payson Event Center at 5:45 p.m., after a barbecue dinner just for trail ride participants, and cover a 16-mile round trip route. It will conclude back at the Event Center at about 7:45 p.m. Only 50 will be allowed to register for the trail rides, but it is not necessary to register for all three rides. The cost for the full event is $60 for riders and $30 for non-riders. The cost of a single ride is $25.

schedule of events

Noon to 5 p.m. - Registration for all events

Celebrate the great outdoors

Payson’s third annual Arizona Mountain High Games is a celebration of the great outdoors in the Rim Country. It is also part of the state’s official ongoing festivities marking the 100th anniversary of Arizona Statehood. The event has been sanctioned by the Arizona Office of Tourism as an official Arizona Centennial Event and is being promoted statewide. The Town of Payson, Rim Country Powersports and Digitell Verizon Wireless are sponsoring the three-day festival Friday, June 1, Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. Based at the Payson Event Center the activities will cover lots of ground with the ATV Trail Rides, a 5K Trail Run and Mountain Bike Races.

Tuesday, May 22

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Wildfire trapped

Long, costly struggle remains

Over the weekend, fire crews gained a big advantage on the rugged 16,115-acre Sunflower Fire. Hundreds of firefighters from around the country are still battling the blaze that as of Tuesday morning was at 25-square-miles and 43 percent containment. Officials say Hotshot crews are reinforcing fire lines and no structures, power lines nor the highway corridor is at risk. Fire officials have set a July 30 containment date, but cautioned that the blaze could hang on for some time as interior fuels continue to burn. That means smoke will also linger over Payson.

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Getting the shot

Solar eclipse inspires shot seen round the world

As an Associate Press photographer, Jeff Robbins spent his whole life chasing light — and doing whatever it took to end up standing in the right place at the right instant. But on Sunday, all the retired Payson photographer had to do to get a shot that has already flashed all around the world was to step outside and look up at an ominously smoky sky. Robbins spent 35 years shooting big stories in difficult places, but he’d never shot an eclipse. But he figured he might as well take a run at it, seeing as how the Internet insisted the eclipse would unfold right overhead at just about sunset.

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U.S. Forest Service awards historic thinning contract

Charges of ‘cronyism’ dog choice of logging company

The U.S. Forest Service last week awarded the largest contract in history to a private timber company to turn 300,000 acres of small trees into wood products, a move Rim Country officials said may ultimately protect endangered Rim Country communities from wildfires. However, the Centers for Biological Diversity immediately cast a shadow across the announcement by criticizing the choice of a company headed by a former U.S. Forest Service official the environmental group said had repeatedly sought to loosen protections for old-growth forests.

Hellsgate Fire faces layoffs

Even after property tax rise, 10% shortfall looms

Facing a $176,000 deficit next year, the Hellsgate Fire Department is asking for the maximum increase in its assessed property tax. If the 9.8 percent increase is approved, the department will still face a $92,000 shortfall in its nearly million-dollar budget. Without a federal grant to help cover the difference, the department will have to lay off four engineers, said Fire Chief Gary Hatch.

Star Valley approves big rate hike on water

Council approves 41 percent increase for some 350 customers

Most Star Valley water customers will see a 41 percent increase in their water bills starting July 1 after the town council approved a rate hike last week to make urgently needed repairs. The average water user’s base rate for a 5/8-inch hookup will go from $16 a month to $22.50 for the first 4,000 gallons of water. For those that cannot afford the increase, the town has included a hardship clause.

Community Almanac

Payson Education Center, an alternative accredited high school, is now enrolling students for summer school.  The summer session will run for three weeks.  It starts May 29 and will end on June 15. Summer school will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.  There is no cost for the session. 

Mounted Posse’s memorial fund-raiser a huge success

On Saturday, May 12 the Gila County Mounted Posse hosted its first Larry Woolsey Memorial Spring Roundup Dinner and Dance at the historic Oxbow Saloon.

Feeding wild animals is not illegal

Dell Owens felt the need to share his knowledge of the Rim Country by pointing out that it is illegal to feed most wild animals in Payson.

Support of yearbook appreciated

The students of Payson Education Center wish to thank the businesses for their support by purchasing ad space in the 2012 PEC Yearbook.

Fun Run earns more than $10,000

I would like to thank all the many businesses and individuals that helped make the American Legion Riders sixth annual Fun Run a huge success.

Concerned to read about Gila County’s health status

After reading Alexis Bechman’s May 11 article titled “County in Poor Health,” it is apparent that the social and behavioral determinants of health are overlooked in Gila County with respect to both end-of-life care intensity and sexual health of teens.

A sinking feeling the Forest Service has done it again

We have this terrible, sinking feeling that the Forest Service has done it again.

We have this terrible, sinking feeling that the Forest Service has done it again. Last week the Forest Service somehow managed to turn the most hopeful and visionary consensus on how we can save our forests and our communities into yet another muddled controversy. We have waited eagerly for two years now for the Forest Service to award contracts that will use timber companies to not only restore forest health — but protect our fire-threatened communities through the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative (4-FRI). Those contracts would guarantee wood product companies a virtually unlimited supply of wood, providing they could use the small trees and brush now choking millions of acres in each of the four national forests in north and central Arizona.

Mountain High Games, summer concerts coming

With May hurtling past, Payson has produced a crowded lineup of activities for June.

With May hurtling past, Payson has produced a crowded lineup of activities for June. June starts with a buzz saw and a bike race at the Mountain High Games Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3. The town will join forces with a slew of sponsors to host the games, a bundle of fun and challenging events for people of all ages and skill levels that grew out of the revived Sawdust Festival. Look for details in the May 23 edition of The Rim Review, which will also be in the Friday edition of the Payson Roundup. To learn more now, go to www.paysonrimcountry.com.

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College studies bare bones budget

Rise in property tax offsets continued decline in state support for GCC

The Gila Community College Board last week had its first look at a hold-the-line budget, which would replace dwindling state aid with yet another boost in the property tax. The $6.4-million budget features an $89,000 decline from this year, matching one of first enrollment decreases in years, said GCC Board President Larry Stephenson. That works out to a decline of about 1.4 percent. Stephenson said, “It looks a lot like last year’s budget, with a few small improvements.”

Farmers Market starts

The buzz has started.

The buzz has started. “So many friends in Phoenix are asking when Payson’s Farmers Market will open,” said Katie Klein one of the new partners of the organization. Katie and her husband Joe have joined with John and Lorian Roethlein, the original founders, to expand the market. “The four of us have the capacity to do more,” said John. The two couples plan to open the market on Memorial Day weekend with new vendors and attractions.

Benefit golf tourneys teeing up at PGC

The summer sports agenda is highlighted by several benefit golf tournaments worthy of everyone’s support.

The summer sports agenda is highlighted by several benefit golf tournaments worthy of everyone’s support. The first, the Jack Morris Memorial tournament tees off at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, June 9 at Payson Golf Course. It has been held each year since Morris’ untimely death in 2004 as a benefit to raise money for the Payson High School football program. The second, the 2012 Clothe-a-Child benefit, will be played July 21 at PGC. It is sponsored each year by the local Elks club to earn money to purchase clothes for needy youths. Last year, the tournament earned more than $7,000, all of which benefited some of the Rim Country’s most needy children.

‘Rodeo a hit,’ says Armstrong

Rodeo Boss Bill Armstrong leaves little doubt the 2012 Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo was an event to remember.

Rodeo Boss Bill Armstrong leaves little doubt the 2012 Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo was an event to remember. “Those that didn’t go missed a damn good rodeo,” he said. “Everything went real well and we had more than 20 national finals contestants.” The total payout of $35,042.75 included a monster paycheck of $3,775 plus $540 in day money to Nephi, Utah cowboy Brad Crook for his winning bull ride aboard Junior Bonner.

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Paint like an Egyptian

First-grade students create Egyptian art — with some help

Brittney Skousen’s mom helped her to create an Egyptian dress and draped her in jewelry to get in character for the day. Brittney’s first-grade teacher, Leslie Reisdorf , with assistance from the Payson Art League (PAL), then transported the children to Egypt — complete with an art project, food and dress. “I suggested kids could dress up in either modern or ancient Egyptian clothes,” said Reisdorf. Reisdorf herself dressed up in a costume with a long white sheath dress, gold encircled headband and gobs of jewelry. “I explained to students that jewelry identified the wealth of the person in ancient Egypt,” said Reisdorf. She decided to put together an Egyptian day after going to a Gifted and Talented conference in February, which included a section on teaching history and art.

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Neal nips Althoff in PMGA

Payson Men’s Golf Association members vie for match play crown

A pair of Payson Men’s Golf Association longtime stalwarts, Troy Neal and Ken Althoff, locked horns in the A-flight championship round of the group’s annual match play tournament. When all was said and done in the one-on-one links skirmish played May 16 at Payson Golf Course, Neal claimed victory 6-up/4. Which means in the match play format, the two golfers competed hole by hole and Neal was ahead by six wins with just four holes to play. Winning is commonplace for the two golfers who are frequent first-place finishers on the PMGA spring and summer circuit.

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Clubs and Organizations

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

Meet of Champions invites five from Payson High track

A field of five Payson High School track and field team members had the opportunity to showcase their talents in the prestigious Meet of Champions that annually draws the best athletes from Arizona.

A field of five Payson High School track and field team members had the opportunity to showcase their talents in the prestigious Meet of Champions that annually draws the best athletes from Arizona. The Arizona Interscholastic Association-sanctioned, post-season meet, formerly known as the Luke Greenway Invitational, is unique in that it pits invited athletes from all school sizes, Division I to IV, against one another. From Payson, Jaymi Carlen (triple jump), Kyle Raeke (300 meter hurdles), Bubba Nielson (high jump), Keith Williams (pole vault) and Levi Sopeland (pole vault) were invited.

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Rim angler shines on Potomac

Payson man clinging to No. 8 spot on angler of the year leader board

While bass fishing in the shadows of the White House and Lincoln Memorial might seem a bit unusual for a Payson-born angler, that’s exactly what unfolded May 17 to 20 on the Potomac River where Clifford Pirch finished ninth in a field of 145 pros entered in a FLW Tour tournament. “Yes, that was a bit different,” he said. “But I’ve fished there three or four times before and usually have done pretty well.”

Friday, May 18

Travel Alert - Heavy smoke present near SR 69 west of Cordes Junction

Speed limit also reduced along SR 87 near Sunflower Fire base camp

PHOENIX – Smoke from the Gladiator Fire near Crown King has reduced visibility on State Route 69 west of Cordes Junction (mileposts 265-275), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. At this time, the highway is not closed, however ADOT advises drivers to slow down, remain alert and use caution in this area. Drivers may also consider delaying their travel, if possible. ADOT is also temporarily reducing the speed limit on State Route 87 (Duthie-Martin Highway) from 65 mph to 45 mph in both directions between mileposts 191 and 193, to help fire crews and supply vehicles merging with other traffic as they enter and exit the Sunflower Fire base camp north of Fountain Hills.

Clubs and Organizations

“Tuesday Morning Breakfast Bunch” meets at Tiny’s Restaurant every week at 9 a.m. to visit and plan future activities. On the schedule: Friday May 18, 7 p.m., Game Night and Mingle hosted by Kathleen at Senior Apartments activity room, 311 S. McLane Road (two-story, blue apartments across from high school). Bring snacks and your favorite game. Monday morning bowling, 10 a.m. first and third Mondays of the month. Discount coupon available. All singles are welcome at all events. The group has no dues. For more information, or to suggest an activity, please call Nadine at (928) 476-4659.

Clubs and Organizations

“Tuesday Morning Breakfast Bunch” meets at Tiny’s Restaurant every week at 9 a.m. to visit and plan future activities. On the schedule: Friday May 18, 7 p.m., Game Night and Mingle hosted by Kathleen at Senior Apartments activity room, 311 S. McLane Road (two-story, blue apartments across from high school). Bring snacks and your favorite game. Monday morning bowling, 10 a.m. first and third Mondays of the month. Discount coupon available. All singles are welcome at all events. The group has no dues. For more information, or to suggest an activity, please call Nadine at (928) 476-4659.

Payson schools juggle jobs after layoffs

The fallout from school budget cuts continues. Payson school administrators continue to shuffle the deck to save money by eliminating and restructuring positions causing staff resignations and loss of student services. “Our personnel actions are about trying to preserve as many programs as possible and protect class sizes for our elementary schools,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien. At Payson High School (PHS), incoming principal Anna Van Zile has suggested restructuring the position of the vice principal position she has held for the last two years to possibly save money. “Anna Van Zile has been researching cost-cutting measures,” said O’Brien, “but this will be tough to do for more than a year.”

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Smoke from wildfire chokes Rim Country

As wildland firefighters worked to set fire lines on the Sunflower Fire Thursday, strong winds and low humidity today and into this weekend are threatening to push the fire farther up Mount Peeley. Still, officials say Payson is not at risk and the Gila County Sheriff’s Office has no plans to order an evacuation. Smoke from the fire is expected to linger through town for some time, however, raising concerns for residents with health issues. “The reality is this fire is going to be here burning for several weeks in some level or another and smoke is going to continue to be an issue,” said Curtis Heaton, incident commander in training.

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Time Out Shelter’s funds drop, but need rises

The only domestic violence shelter in Rim Country lost some $200,000 in state and federal support, just as the sickly economy has pushed domestic violence and the need for shelter to new highs. Time Out Shelter staff member Barbara Glinzak knows that such a trend can produce fatal results. Her own harrowing tale of abuse started when she was 8 and a friend of her father’s started to sexually molest her. After four years of terror and abuse, she fled her home at the age of 12. But she sought shelter with a boy six years older than she, who began to abuse her mentally and physically. She finally escaped that relationship with her current husband.

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Taylor Pool to open next Saturday

The pool at North Rumsey Park opens for the season Saturday, May 26, and will also be open for Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. Regular hours for public swimming will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and costs $2 per visit.

Five signs democracy is in trouble

Democracy cannot function without a vibrant middle class. The middle class in America is sick and shrinking.

Help the Rim Country Relay for Life

Hello my name is Linda Morris, my family and friends have come together to raise as much money as we can to help the “Relay For Life” (cancer) walk.

Schools make painful choices

Flipping through the paper today, we came across something crazy. On page one, we learned that the Payson Unified School District opted to cut the student counselor at Rim Country Middle School. Counselor Byron Quinlan has mercifully already landed another position, but the cut will leave the middle school without a desperately needed counselor. But Quinlan noted that as the school counselor he has dealt with more suicide threats, body cutting, bullying and abuse cases than ever before.

Poll: Voters see education as valued but underfunded

Most Arizona voters rate schools as very important to the state’s future, but they also say the state has shortchanged schools which they often rank as performing poorly, according to findings in a recent Merrill/ Morrison Institute Poll. The poll of 488 registered voters concluded half of Arizona’s voters rate the state’s public schools as poor or very poor and nearly three-quarters say that the state’s public school system is underfunded. An eye-catching 70 percent of the voters said a top-quality school system is crucial and another 27 percent ranked quality schools as “very important.” About half of the voters ranked the state’s public schools as either excellent or good, while 50 percent ranked schools as poor or very poor.

No fires allowed in Tonto National Forest

Drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger have resulted in fire restrictions across Tonto National Forest. Most types of fire or fire-causing activities are prohibited in the forest. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device is prohibited. Smoking is only allowed in a developed campground, vehicle or building.

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Pine fuel reduction group wins

The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Inc. has won one of 11 of the state’s 2012 Volunteer Service Awards. PSFR has worked to reduce fire fuels in the Pine and Strawberry areas and last summer hosted its first Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race. It won the state award for outstanding nonprofit or faith-based volunteer group. PSFR gained national attention in 2005 for spearheading a fund drive in the private sector to fund maintenance of the fuel break on Forest Service land surrounding the two communities.

Rim Club adding new salon; natural food store behind Walgreens scrapped

The Rim Club is known for having the best — including great food, custom homes and golf course. But the clubhouse is missing one thing — a spa. Most high-end golf clubs offer salon and spa services for members, but at The Rim Club, a spa had never really taken root. When the company that built The Rim Club and its sister property, Chaparral Pines, went bankrupt several years ago, the three rooms built specifically for salon services at The Rim Club sat empty. Now, under the ownership of Black Buffalo Corporation and OB Sports, which is owned by Phil Mickelson and Steve Loy, a salon will open Monday.

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Community asks officials for answers on four-year college

Like a professional boxer, economic director Mike Vogel dodged and weaved questions on the progress to bring a four-year university to town Tuesday in an hour-long meeting that left most with more questions than answers. Vogel said he could not go into detail on plans to build a 6,000-student, $700 million university campus in Payson because it could jeopardize negotiations. “It will happen, I promise you that,” Vogel said. This assurance seemed to do little for several community members at the Q&A session at Tiny’s Restaurant. “At one point does the (Educational) Alliance just walk away?” one woman asked.

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In the dog and cat house

Humane society moves happy cats and dogs into bigger, safer shelter

The song goes, “How much is that doggy in the window?” But at the new Humane Society of Central Arizona’s 7,000-square-foot animal shelter, the kittens are also the ones with the waggley tails. Last week, the humane society capped years of dedicated effort by moving dogs and cats into the new shelter. The adoption center off South McLane Road features three, glass-fronted rooms right off the main foyer with kittens and cats proudly on display.  The cats are still getting used to their new digs — they only moved in last Friday — but already appear to enjoy the wall of shelves that staff installed so they could traverse vertically around the rooms. Shelter manager Sarah Hock said the cat community rooms are great because they are on their own ventilation system to cut down on odors and the spread of disease. Each room can house as many as 10 cats.

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Summer reading programs offered

Can’t get enough of Ironman, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Spiderwoman, The Hawk or Spiderman? Look for them at the Payson Public Library this summer. Super heroes are the featured topic of the library’s summer reading program. Payson Public Library will start taking pre-registration for its Cosmic Super Heroes Summer Reading Tuesday, May 22. The program is free and will be held Tuesdays and Wednesdays, June 5 through July 18, when the awards picnic is planned. Tuesdays there will be three sessions: children ages 3 to 12 have the option of participating in a session at 10 a.m. or at 2 p.m., while those 10 to 18 will have a session at 4 p.m. Wednesday, sessions will again be offered to those ages 3 to 12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Additionally, the library will continue its program for infants and toddlers at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays.

Is Payson High a ‘coaching graveyard?’

Overheard at the Division III state softball tournament last week at Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix — “Payson High is a coaching graveyard.” The person speaking wasn’t a disgruntled coach or upset parent, but a respected former educator with deep roots in state athletic circles. Lending credibility to the statement is Byron Quinlan’s sudden resignation as head coach at the school. That means Payson High School has gone through 11 head football coaches in the past 25 years. That merry-go-round succession means an average of just over two seasons per coach. By contrast, in that same span Blue Ridge High School has had only one head football coach— Paul Moro. And such a long tenure isn’t a fluke: Vern Friedli was at Tucson Amphi for 36 seasons before retiring this spring; Emil Nasser was head coach at Winslow for 34 years; Karl Keifer was at Tempe McClintock for 26 years and Mike Morgan has headed the St. Johns football program for almost 30 years.

Community Almanac

An adult tri-swim clinic is slated for Saturday, May 19 at the Taylor Pool on North McLane Road in Payson. These are great for beginners who are new to swimming and need to improve their stroke, or those looking for new ideas to make their tri-swim faster and more efficient.

Thanks for the generous donations to food bank

St. Vincent de Paul-Payson would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their generous donations and support of the food bank’s 11th Annual Tee Off for Hunger-Food Bank Golf Tournament April 28. All funds generated go to the Rim Country Food Bank.

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Quinlan calls it quits

Payson High football coach stepping down

Byron Quinlan is stepping down as the PHS head football coach after two years at the helm of the gridiron program and several other seasons as an assistant. The PUSD school board accepted his resignation from both coaching duties and his counseling position at Rim Country Middle School at its May 14 meeting. His counseling job was actually eliminated earlier this spring in a budget-cutting move and next year Quinlan would have been at the high school as a special education teacher. Quinlan admits the elimination of his counseling job influenced his decision to step away — “After my position was cut, I felt it necessary to look elsewhere.

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Lady Horns in running for D-III honors

The Lady Longhorns softball team, fresh off a 29-4 season in which it reached the state semifinals, should be well represented when the results of coaches’ voting for the All-Division III first and second teams are announced on May 26. Arianna Paulson, Taylor Petersen, Megan Wessel and Kaitlin Wessel could draw good numbers of votes because their .300-plus batting averages are sure to impress the division’s coaches. Paulson’s robust .594 average is certain to catch the eye of coaches, as is her power hitting that included a team-high five home runs, seven triples and 22 doubles. She also led the team in RBIs with 61 and struck out just eight times. Her slugging percentage of 1.125 is among the highest in the division. Although Paulson is only a sophomore, the hitting statistics she compiled during the season almost assures her a spot on the all-division team.

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PHS golf team celebrates silver medal state finish at CP

A Payson High School golf team that is being hailed as one of the best in the program’s history celebrates this evening, May 18, the end of a highly successful season that culminated with a Division III state runner-up finish. From 6 to 8 p.m. at Chaparral Pines golf club, coach Bret Morse, assistant coach Denny Morris and members of the team gather to relive a season filled with thrills, challenges and great accomplishments. The event will also serve as a goodbye of sorts to Tyler Apps and Anthony Smith, the only two senior members of the team. Among the topics of conversation will undoubtedly be the team’s spirited comeback on the second day of the state tournament, May 12, at Antelope Hills near Prescott.

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Teen sets rifle record

Smith’s goal is to earn a college scholarship

A 13-year-old Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader has set an Arizona Junior High Power Championship rifle shooting score racking up 478 points out of a possible 500. In setting the mark, April 21 during the Matt Acker Memorial Shoot at Ben Avery Range near Phoenix, Donnie Smith also scored eight perfect bull’s-eyes. The match is held annually as a tribute to Acker — a former junior shooter who died in a 2001 automobile accident near a Florida military base where he was stationed.

PWGA season off to a great start

The PWGA had a fun-filled April to open their 2012 season. The group welcomed three new members to the league this year — Judy Mackenzie from Star Valley, Anna Ransom from Payson, and Jeri Shepard from Star Valley. The first competition was held April 3 and was a two best ball format. The team of Shari Cody, Sharon Vaplon and Isabella Sockrider came in first, followed by the team of Claudia Bullard, Jan Burns and Jeannie Griffin. Earlene Brewer and Vaplon won closest-to-the-pin honors. There were two birdies that day as well, one by Karen Peterson and the other by Cody. Judy Mackenzie scored a chip-in.

Can you imagine yourself being there?

I should have called this column, “Down the hatch!” Why? When you first read it you may find it hard to swallow. You may even think I’m pulling your leg. But I’m not. I swear I am not. Even though it seems impossible, this really happened. Did it ever! When it comes to things that happened during my lifetime, and were close enough to where I was living at the time for me to feel it had happened right next door, it tops the list. And yet I’ve never met anyone who has heard of it. Never! How can that be?

Kick off summer with fun Tonto Village event May 26

Hello again fellow Creekers. The Christopher/Kohls Fire Department and the Firebelles Auxiliary will celebrate Memorial Day with a festival at the fire station from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 26. This is an event full of fun and food for the entire family. The day’s activities will include a brats and hot dog lunch, a book sale, a bake sale, and a silent auction. The lunch menu will include brats or hot dogs, baked beans, cole slaw, and a beverage. Local cooks will provide plenty of mouth watering baked goods for the bake sale.

And then there were only two

If you’re an American Idol junkie, as I openly confess that I am, then you know that Fox TV’s music elimination competition has pared the competitors down to its final two contestants. After starting out last summer with tryouts across the country for tens of thousands of American Idol wannabes, the program ends next week with a showdown between its final two singers, with the winner, determined by fan voting, being crowned the 11th American Idol. Unfortunately, for this article, I can’t yet fill in the names of Idol’s two finalists. Friday’s Roundup deadline comes before Thursday’s elimination show. As I write this, the lone remaining female contestant, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez will be squaring off this week against the two remaining males - 19-year-old soul singer Joshua Ledet and 21-year-old alternative-rocker Phil Phillips.

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Spring rolls right into fire season

The wildfire season is here with a vengeance. Our forest is very dry and according to the Payson Ranger station, the Sunflower area is on restriction as of Tuesday, May 15. Other parts of Tonto National Forest will be under campfire restrictions by the end of this week. There is a Web site available to voice your opinion on restrictions of campfires from May 1 to July 15. The site is: http://www.campfireslimited.com. There are other Web sites to check also, they are: SWEG http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/index.htm. A phone number to call for information is 1-877-864-6985.

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Festivals give community a boost

The spring blossoms peaking in Pine and Strawberry, spectacular scenery, perfect weather and oldies music in the air (courtesy of Payson’s own DJ Craig) made last weekend’s May Day Festival a joyful experience. Parked cars lined the highway through Pine most of the day on Saturday and Sunday as locals and visitors – some just passing through – stopped to partake in the festival spirit and join in the merriment. In Pine, the restaurants and cafes like the Randall House, the new Pine Creek Smokehouse, HB’s, as well as Sidewinders, the Pine Deli and the Early Bird were buzzing with activity. Even the Rimside Grill was open for business even though it is under remodeling construction for transformation into THAT Brewery & Pub. Owner, Tamara, along with husband, Steve, are using local contractor Blue Moon Construction and other area contractors and merchants for all of the work and materials.

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Mega fires: Much worse yet to come

The fierce start of the 2012 fire season last weekend offers a frightening portent of things to come in Rim Country, according to mounting evidence. Researchers say that the tree-ring and fossil records stretching back for thousands of years show little sign of the sort of recent “mega fires” that have sterilized soils and reduced whole forests to a moonscape of ash with increasing frequency in the Southwest. “Mega fires are huge, landscape-scale fires in excess of 100,000 acres. We’re seeing this throughout the West, but Arizona is on the leading edge,” said forest ecologist and Northern Arizona University Regent’s Professor Wally Covington.

Kiwanian asks: What does it take to make you cry?

What does it take to make you cry? A poignant scene in a movie? A friend going through a tough time? A remembrance of a lost love? A tender song from your childhood? A yellowed photo of Mom or Dad, now gone and sorely missed? Tears can be brought to our eyes by all kinds of things. I promise that watching a video of a newborn in the throes of the seizures brought on by maternal/neonatal tetanus will bring tears to the eyes of any caring person. Check YouTube and type in “Eliminate Project” and see for yourself. The babies born to women who have contracted tetanus die within a week of their births, and that death is not a calm, peaceful sleep.

Protect your pets from heatstroke

Well, we finally made it. We are now open and running in our new building! Many have waited several years to see this day come, and it’s here now. If you haven’t stopped by to see the new digs, please do so. Remember we are open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on McLane Road just south of Main Street. Staff and volunteers are very excited to be in the new building and things are going really well. HSCAZ wants to say a huge “thank you” to all the donors, supporters, volunteers and staff who helped make the new building and the move possible. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible. Rising temperatures As the weather gets war

Wednesday, May 16

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Latest wildfire updates

The Roundup is tracking three forest fires in Arizona. As updates are available, staff will post them below.

Gladiator Fire

Forecasted drier weather and associated strong winds may continue to complicate suppression efforts. Winds from the southeast and south are expected to push the fire north and northwest on Wednesday. Fire behavior is expected to be extreme. Firefighters continue working to suppress the fire and provide structure protection to homes in the community. Firefighting resources will focus on perimeter control when they can do so safely. Crews are also working to protect structures and communication sites west of the fire. In areas where direct attack is not feasible, they will focus on protecting individual structures ahead of the fire.

Bull Flat Fire

Bull Flat fire closure in effect at 5 pm today

Bull Flat fire closure in effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday. in Tonto National Forest, nine miles northeast of Young.

Sunflower Fire reduced to 16,105 acres

Burned acreage was reduced by 588 acres yesterday due to more accurate information received from the field. Low fire behavior was reported in all divisions of the Sunflower Fire as crews continued to reinforce control lines and remove unneeded equipment and supplies.

Fire restrictions on Tonto National Forest begin today

All fireworks prohibited year-round

Drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger have resulted in fire restrictions across Tonto National Forest beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Most types of fire or fire-causing activities are prohibited in the forest. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device is prohibited. Smoking is only allowed in a developed campground, vehicle, or building.

Tuesday, May 15

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Orange cloud hangs over Payson

Winds from the southeast pushed a large plume of smoke over Payson Tuesday afternoon, casting an eerie, apocalyptic-like orange glow over town.

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Testing the waters

High school ecology class examines the East Verde

Kalynn Roggenstein, a junior at Payson High School (PHS), reached between the rocks to grab the gigantic spider. Her classmates gasped at her boldness. They wanted nothing to do with the eight-legged creature until Roggenstein safely put the 2.5-inch-long arachnid in a sieve. “We let everybody look at it,” she said, “then we took measurements and wrote down information to identify it.” Roggenstein loves to study macro-invertebrates, the scientific name for spiders and other critters that have a hard outer shell. She found the spider during a field trip with PHS science instructor Beverly Adams. Adams takes her ecology students to test the waters of the East Verde River to study the science of the environment, macro-invertebrates like the spider, are a vital part of the lesson.

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PHS principal sees life from different angle

In one of her English classes, Anna Van Zile had her students design a vanity license plate with words that best described them. For her license plate, Van Zile wrote in italicized letters: “CNLIFE.” She translated what it meant for her class: seeing life at a slant. This has double meaning for Van Zile. She looks different because of her Asian heritage, and she also looks at life differently from everyone else. “I don’t see solutions as everyone else does,” she said. She also believes students benefit from understanding accountability and standing up for themselves. These attitudes, she believes, will help her at her new position as principal of Payson High School (PHS). This past week, the district hired Van Zile as principal to replace Kathe Ketchem, who will retire at the end of the year. For the past two years, she has worked as assistant principal.

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Community unites in shadow of tragedy

When the Dude Fire ripped through the homes of Lorna and Bill Glaunsinger and 50 of their neighbors more than 22 years ago, the couple wasn’t sure they could rebuild. After raging 10 days, the forest fire had claimed the lives of six firefighters and left a moonscape behind. It took six years, but the couple eventually rebuilt. Today, Bonita Creek is once again a quiet community of more than four-dozen homes tucked in the woods northeast of Payson. But a remarkable thing has happened since the Dude Fire: Almost all of those homeowners have made their property “firewise.” Vegetation no longer clogs the yards and brushes up against homes. Tiny wooden green tree stakes at the foot of driveways throughout the community proudly declare: this home is firewise.

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Wildfire rages near Sunflower

Windy conditions and rough terrain are making it difficult for firefighters to get a handle on the Sunflower Fire south of Payson. The fire started Saturday morning and quickly spread, burning through 2,500 acres overnight. As of Tuesday morning, the fire was at 4,600 acres and 5 percent containment. While Hotshot crews wrestle to wrangle in the first large northern Gila County wildfire of the year, officials say they have kept the fire away from the Beeline Highway and any structures. Meanwhile in Prescott, another fire has forced the evacuation of some 300 homes, one of four major fires burning statewide. That includes the nearby 700-acre Bull Flat Fire just south of Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery in the Pleasant Valley Ranger District in the Tonto National Forest. The fire has also burned onto the Fort Apache Reservation about 20 miles northwest of Cibecue. Yesterday, the fire was 35 percent contained. The 160 firefighters online Monday evening had the fire 45 percent contained, thanks to backfires along a nine-mile stretch of Forest Road 109.

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All good things must end

Longhorn softball, golf teams fall just short of winning it all

Precious are those memories we hold of once competing in a high school state sports tournament. We cling to them knowing they cannot be dulled by the passing of time. They are treasured for lifetimes because every athlete dreams of qualifying for the postseason to play against the state’s finest teams. A legendary Arizona high school football coach once said, “if a player’s goal as a freshman is not to someday make it to state, I don’t want them on my team.” Around the country, senior citizens vividly recall the smallest of details of state tournaments that occurred decades ago. Some might forget their phone number, but they remember the exact moment they lashed a base hit that scored the winning run or recovered a fumble that preserved a victory.

Tax fairness not political

If there was an ounce of common sense about “how” the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, no one would have a fleeting chance against the 99 percent working, educational, medical and military needs of our country.

Community effort, support vital to success

During this troublesome economic downturn, we have made a concerted effort to get our community moving forward again.

JRE PTO says thanks

The Julia Randall Elementary PTO wants to say thank you to our community for our successful and fun Spring Fling Carnival held May 4.

More Republican mistruths

Once again I am forced to take pen in hand to counter the latest Republican mistruths.

Honoring our students

On Tuesday evening, May 8, 2012, Payson High School set out to recognize our very best students.

Posse says thank you

The Gila County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse would like to take this opportunity and address the attendees and contributors of the Larry Woolsey Memorial “Spring Roundup” Dinner & Dance to say: What a remarkable community we live in.

The fiery demon that stalks us all

The ominous column of smoke rising to the south has underscored the single greatest threat to the communities we love so dearly — wildfires. Mercifully, the Sunflower Fire burned into steep canyons and wilderness, moving away from the little community of Sunflower. However, another wildfire that started this weekend and made a run on Prescott forced the evacuation of 300 homes. Used to be, the scary part of the fire season didn’t start until June when the spring rains had ended and rising temperatures had dried out the fuels. Each year we ran the gauntlet through June until the monsoons started in July. As a result, the monster fires like the Dude and the Rodeo-Chediski all flared in June.

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Cowboy Up Rim Country, it’s rodeo time

Riders explode from the chutes Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Payson Event Center

It’s time for Rim Country to Cowboy Up. The 2012 Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo, an annual celebration of the Rim’s Western heritage takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 17, 18 and 19 at the Payson Event Center on Highway 87, across from the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. The event Thursday night is the Cactus Women’s Professional Rodeo Association events — barrel racing, tie-down roping and team roping. Gates open at 5 p.m., with the contests starting at 7 p.m. Admission is one can of food or more for the food banks in the Rim Country.

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Enjoy the wonderful Rim evenings

May is the prelude to June — the month when hours of daylight are the longest. In the midst of winter, we yearn for this time of year, but when the sun lingers late in the sky and the temperature climbs, we like to sit out on the patio in the cool of the evening, watch the daylight slowly fade away, and, as our family says, talk smart. Sometimes it is just Len and me, sometimes we are joined by other family members. There’s usually a lot of laughter — it doesn’t matter what the topics are, whether the day’s events, politics, gardening or whatever, it is a pleasant end to a summer’s day. And, remember, the days will begin growing shorter after the summer solstice on June 20, so enjoy this while you can.

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Community Almanac

The May Chamber Mixer will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 16 at Falcon Crest Bed & Breakfast, 1105 N. Falcon Crest Dr.  Come and network with other businesses, and don’t forget business cards to pass out. The chamber is also looking for door prizes for the event. The cost is $3 per member and $5 for the community. Reservations are required. Please call (928) 474-4515 to reserve your ticket.

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Payson packs on pounds at electronic waste event

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality completed the spring phase of its 2012 Free Electronics Waste Recycling Program with a successful event in the parking lot of Payson’s Multi-Event Center on April 28. A total of 166 vehicles from Payson and the surrounding region brought 23,200 pounds of e-waste for recycling. The vehicle total was far more than either of the two previous events that ADEQ sponsored in Payson. A total of 31,000 pounds had been collected at the two earlier e-waste events.

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Payson goes wild

Game and Fish, outdoor groups, a close-mouthed alligator and a long-bodied boa delight children

The confident 8-year-old sat beside the phlegmatic tape-jawed alligator, summoning his bravado. His little sister with the face of an angel drawn up in a perfect “O” of amazement drew back from the enormous reptile. The boy saw his chance. Affecting nonchalance, the boy patted the long-suffering alligator on the snout and his sister’s eyes widened to full-moon splendor. “It’s OK,” said the brave lad. “You can touch him. He’s afraid of me.” Such vignettes played out all day long Saturday at the Payson Wildlife Fair, which brimmed with enough giant boa constrictors, fierce-eyed golden eagles, tongue-flicking monitor lizards, sharp-eyed peregrine falcons, ponderous giant tortoises, jaw-taped alligators and poached deer and elk to made any 8-year-old dance with excitement. Hundreds of families wandered through the banquet of booths set up on a perfect spring day in Green Valley Park.

Clubs and Organizations

“Tuesday Morning Breakfast Bunch” meets at Tiny’s Restaurant every week at 9 a.m. to visit and plan future activities. On the schedule: Wednesday, May 16 Fiddlers Jam Session in the Pine Cultural Hall at 1 p.m. A spaghetti and meatball dinner and salad bar is served in the Senior Center Dining Room at 11:30. The cost is $5 and a reservation is required the day before. Contact Sandy to make your reservation or call 476-2151 by Tuesday.

Learn about metal content of vegetables

Interested in learning about the metal content of vegetables grown in soils with elevated metals, such as arsenic and lead?   Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, PhD candidate from the University of Arizona, will discuss “Gardenroots: The Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona Garden Project” designed to determine the uptake of arsenic in commonly grown vegetables in Arizona and the possible health risks to the local populations.

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PHS golf team’s rally falls just short of championship

Defending state champ edges out resurgent Horns

The Longhorn golf team rallied from a disastrous state tournament opening day to card a second-day 301 — a tally that eventually turned out to be the best team score of the post-season shoot-out. But the come-from-behind effort wasn’t enough to catch defending state champion Yuma Catholic, which won the state title with a two-day total of 617. Payson finished as state runners-up with a 625. Valley Christian placed third at 626 and Phoenix Country Day took fourth at 632. Entering the May 11-12 tournament at Antelope Hills near Prescott, PHS coach Bret Morse was on target with his predictions that the run for the crown would come down to the schools that finished in the top four.

Payson pole vaulter wins championship

Bo Althoff, the Payson High track and field team’s pole-vaulting coach and the school record holder in the event, is beaming with pride. His satisfaction is the result of having one of his students, Keith Williams, win the Division III state pole vault championship by clearing 14 feet, 3 inches in the finals held May 11 and 12 at Mesa Community College. Just over 20 years ago, it was Althoff being crowned a state champion in the grueling event that requires upper body strength, speed, exceptional coordination and a healthy dose of confidence. While Williams did come up a bit short of the 15 feet Althoff predicts he is capable of vaulting, the state mark was three inches higher than runner-up T.J. Ryan of Sedona. Also in the pole vault, PHS senior Levi Sopeland cleared 13 feet to finish sixth in a field of 16 qualifiers who competed in the event.

Garcia sets the PMGA standard

Payson Men’s Golf Association member Oscar Garcia turned in the group’s best showing in an individual low net tournament, winning first place in A flight and pocketing closest to the pin money on No. 8 at Payson Golf Course. In finishing first in the May 9 tournament, Garcia carded a tournament low 63. His winning closest to the pin shot was just 3 feet, 4 inches shy of an ace. Also in A flight, Ron Fisher was second with a 67 and Larry Smith posted a 71 to take third. In B flight, Dave Rutter turned in a 65 and took first, outdueling runner-up Roger Poole and Bill Mullins. Poole finished at 66 and Mullins had a 71.

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Upsetting finale

Lady Horns conclude best season ever with error-plagued loss to team that went on to win state championship

The Lady Longhorns’ hope of a state softball championship died Friday from the impact of the baffling pitching style of an underdog, but undefeated, Bourgade Catholic softball team. The opposing, left-handed pitcher’s perplexing mix of off-speed pitches included a rise ball and curve ball. In a state final-four matchup May 11 at Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix, BC hurler Jackie Aguilar struck out the first four PHS hitters she faced, setting the tone for the Golden Eagles’ 7-2 victory. The Longhorns’ loss snapped a 16-game winning streak and sent the team packing north on Beeline without the state championship trophy for which they’d longed all season.

Taylor Pool set to open to the public May 26

EVO swim school owner David Tait is enthusiastically anticipating the opening of Taylor Pool and the beginning of swim lessons on May 29. “We have a great staff of enthusiastic, hard-working people to help your children learn and grow,” he said. Sean Ford has been hired as Taylor Pool manager and will also serve as coach of the Pikes swim team. Ford, Tait says, “Brings a passionate attitude about coaching kids to do and be their best.” The new manager will be assisted by Tyler Stern, who Tait calls “equally passionate and outgoing.” Tait predicts the pair, “Will be a dynamic duo for sure.” For those parents interested in having their children take swimming lessons, enrollment is now open for the first week of sessions.

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Payson Supply Line still on the front lines

Fun Run raised money to send care packages to troops

What started as a gift to a family member grew into a program that has provided nearly 2,000 boxes of gifts to U.S. military men and women in war zones. Veterans Butch Klein and Lud Kaftan started the Payson Supply Line in January 2005. The first beneficiary of what became Payson Supply Line was Jason Watson, the brother of Butch and Kathy Klein’s daughter-in-law. After sending Jason a small box of items just as “family,” Butch felt God was leading him to do more — not just for Jason, but for all of the U.S. troops stationed in the war zones. Butch is a former Marine and discussed his thoughts with fellow Christian and former Marine Captain Lud Kaftan. In just a short time, Butch and Lud brought their wives, Kathy and Marian, into the mix. Lud’s home office became the first area to store supplies and pack the boxes for shipping. Newspaper articles generated publicity as events raised money.

Sunday, May 13

Underdog Bourgade ambushes Lady Horns

At midseason prep softball fans were predicting the Division III championship game would most likely pit the state’s top two ranked teams, Payson and Estrella Foothills, against one another. After all, both sported the best won-loss records in the state and in a mid-March clash in the Gracie Haught Classic, the Wolves stole a run in the bottom of the final inning to win a 1-0 thriller.

Saturday, May 12

Wildfire burning south of Payson

A wildfire is burning 21 miles south of Payson.

Friday, May 11

Budget batters schools

Per-student spending still at 2006 levels

The final state budget adopted last week brought little joy to the Payson Unified School District, although the Legislature’s latest reductions fell just short of the worst-case scenario. After a long standoff with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, lawmakers approved an $8.6 billion budget that cut taxes on businesses and investments, but left per-student school funding stuck at 2006 levels. Lawmakers did throw in $40 million to help ensure third-graders can read, which will yield an extra $80,000 to $90,000 for Payson schools, said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

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America via Mule team

Couple traverses country in covered wagon; discover kindness of strangers

Chuck and Mary Reagan aren’t in any hurry to get to California. So they’ve been on the road in their 100-year-old covered wagon with their two horses, two mules, two dogs and last two dollars for more than two years. The Reagans made a stopover in Payson Monday, resting their flock at Payson Feed before continuing on to Prescott, the Grand Canyon and eventually the coast of California. Traveling at the top three-miles-an-hour speed of a cockroach, it has taken the couple a few more years than they planned to reach their end goal. They told one reporter in early 2010 they planned to travel from their home base in Crab Orchard, Ky. to Butte County, Calif. by November 2010. Now Chuck said he hopes to make it there by November — of this year, a tidy two years behind schedule. On the road, a few hiccups slowed the couple’s progress, including a broken axle and a switchover from wooden wagon wheels to modern tires.

County in poor health

Study: Gila most unhealthy in state

Gila County residents die sooner and teens get pregnant quicker than anywhere else in Arizona, according to a new report. Gila County ranks as the unhealthiest in the state based on a combination of smoking, lack of exercise, vehicle crash deaths, inadequate social support, obesity, child poverty and teen pregnancy. But Gila County does have one thing going for it: the environment. The area has cleaner air, fewer fast food restaurants and more recreational facilities than the rest of the state, according to the third annual County Health Rankings released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute. The study ranked more than 3,000 counties in America according to a variety of health measures using government data. Many things factor into a community’s overall health, including where we live, how we are taught, work and play. While Gila County ranks at the bottom of measures — projections for future health place the county somewhere in the middle of the pack.

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‘Helping is not doing’

Fitzgerald’s educational philosophy wins top award

Early in what proved an award-winning career, Dr. Barbara Fitzgerald noticed something interesting in her elementary school computer lab: The boys always controlled the mouse. “Every time there was a mixed sex group, even if a girl sat alone and asked for help, the boy would control the mouse and do the work for the girl,” said Fitzgerald. She mulled over the problem. Seeing the boys did the work for the girls instead of helping them do it themselves, she started telling the children, “Helping is not doing.” That observation grew into her Ph.D. dissertation on the subject and helped define an educational philosophy that led to a recent statewide award as at the Payson Unified School District.

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Graduates celebrate success against long odds

Triumphant great-grandma among the record-breaking graduating class at GCC

When Janice Clarice Workman timidly signed up for a pottery class at Gila Community College (GCC) in 2004, all she wanted to do was “play with clay.” It never crossed her mind that class would change her life, inspire her grandchildren — and even make a little GCC history. But that’s exactly what the former high school dropout and great-grandmother did on Wednesday when she collected the first Associate of Arts degree in Arts Education ever granted by GCC in front of a happy throng of 300 people drawn to graduation ceremonies for the largest crop of grads in GCC history.

Town, county weather state budget impact

Already battered counties and towns this week heaved a cautious sigh of relief with the adoption of a state budget that left fresh bruises — but didn’t actually throttle them. “When all was said and done, we were able to hold to no additional cost shifts to counties,” said Gila County District One Supervisor Tommie Martin. However, the $8.6 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts in June left in place some expensive financial shifts from this year — including the loss of gas tax money, a requirement that counties pay for insane prisoners held in the state mental hospital, a cut in funding for school resource officers on school campuses. The Town of Payson also found some muffled measure of relief in scrutinizing the details of the compromise budget plan reached in negotiations between Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican legislative leaders.

Community Almanac

The Payson Parks & Rec Department has several outdoor classes on the calendar for the coming weeks. Today, Friday, May 11 is the last day to register for the May 16 Kids Fishing class. The cost is $5 per child and is for first through fifth graders only. There will be a Bat Night at Green Valley Park with representatives from the Arizona Game & Fish Department Saturday, May 19. The cost is $5 per person, but those 12 and under can participate for free. The deadline to register is Friday, May 18.

Town budget problems require survival mode

Today we are seeing government at its worst. Gridlock in Washington and the demands by Republicans that America follow the failed policies of Europe and balance the budget in the middle of a recession has almost stopped the flow of funds to state governments.

We can’t put out a forest fire

People died in a Colorado fire started by the Forest Service — a “controlled burn.”

Mayor updates community on status of university campus

As summer 2012 begins, it is timely to personally update readers regarding the status of our plans to bring a university campus to Payson. First, I want to thank the citizens and businesses of our wonderful community for their support of this initiative. I have seen, heard and felt your enthusiasm at the many neighborhood and community forums held over the past year. Many of you raised valid questions and/or provided excellent ideas. Parents expressed their strong desires for their children to be able to earn college degrees, at a reasonable cost, while remaining close to home. Everyone has been enthusiastic about the much-needed financial benefits the campus will provide to our community, especially because of the long-term economic benefit to Rim Country for decades to come.

Blending compassion, responsibility

We always heave a deep sigh when the Legislature wraps up a session — half in relief, half in disappointment. Certainly, this year’s session proved less overtly traumatic than last year, when lawmakers approved crippling cuts in programs to contend with a multi-billion-dollar deficit. By contrast, this year lawmakers stashed a projected $700 million surplus in assorted budgetary cubbyholes. We applaud the painful effort lawmakers made to return the state to a sound financial footing and sympathize with the dispiriting choices that effort forced.

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Tips to reduce the chance of encountering a rabid animal

The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Game and Fish Department recommend the following precautions to reduce a chance encounter with a rabid animal: • Keep people and pets away from wild animals. Do not pick up, touch, or feed wild animals, especially sick or wounded ones. If someone has been bitten or scratched, or has had contact with the animal, report it immediately to animal control or health officials.

Camper kills rabid mountain lion

A group of campers killed a rabid mountain lion Friday south of Payson, the first reported case of the virus in Gila County in more than a year. The mountain lion was reportedly killed by a camper after it ran through the group’s campsite and attacked a dog. The group of four was camping in a remote section of the Tonto National Forest, downstream of Sheep Bridge along the Verde River, near the junction of Bloody Basin Road south of Payson, according to officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The group was reportedly eating breakfast Friday about 6:30 a.m., when a mountain lion ran out of the bushes and attacked a 90-pound pit bull and Labrador retriever mix.

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Lady Horns face tough pitcher in semi-final

The Lady Longhorns’ season-long quest to win Payson’s first state softball championship continues at 5:30 p.m. today at Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix where PHS takes on a Bourgade Catholic team (30-3) anchored by a pitcher touted to be the equal of Payson ace Arianna Paulson. The BC hurler, senior Jackie Aguilar, has racked up pitching credentials almost as impressive as Paulson’s. She is 21-3 and sports a miniscule .50 ERA that includes giving up just 10 earned runs and 65 hits all season long. She’s also struck out 293 batters and is a master of control, having walked just seven opposing batters.

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Student council, adviser honored

The Pine Strawberry School Student Council received top honors at the Arizona Association of Junior High Student Council State Convention May 3. It was designated Master Council, the highest designation a council may achieve. There were six other councils, out of 239, that also received that designation. Jan Clark, council adviser, was also recognized with the 2012 Distinguished Service Award, the first one ever presented by the Student Council State Board. Congratulations to all of you for your hard work and dedication and for representing our school and community in such a positive way.

Rec Roundup

The following programs and events are offered by the Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, 1000 W. Country Club Dr. To register or for more information, call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 or online visit www.paysonrimcountry.com.

This Mother’s Day, think of financial moves that help your children

If you’re a mother, you’ll probably get some nice cards and flowers on Mother’s Day. Of course the greatest gifts are your children themselves and since you want to see them happy and financially secure, perhaps you can use this Mother’s Day as an opportunity to consider ways to help your children at various stages of their lives. So, let’s take a look at a few steps:

Event-packed Saturday

Wildlife Fair and more scheduled

It’s time to start counting down to summer fun. This weekend the hot season kicks off with not only Mother’s Day, but the Wildlife Fair, the American Legion’s Fun Run for the Payson Supply Line, the Rim Country Corvette Club’s first car show and ABATE of Arizona High Country Chapter’s first Bike Safety Day. Before celebrating Mother’s Day, get down to Green Valley Park for the annual Wildlife Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 12.

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Mom a popular song subject for country crooner

M is for the mercy she possesses O means that I owe her all I own T is for her tender, sweet caresses H is for her hands that made a home E means ev’rything she’s done to help me R means real and regular Put them all together they spell MOTHER, a word that means the world to me.

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Clubs and Organizations

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, identified 12 powers that he believed reflected an individual’s Divine Nature. By continuing to develop these powers or spiritual gifts, we grow and strengthen our own divinity — right here, right now. The first and foundation of these gifts is Faith, “The assurance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1).

County approves project intended to improve health

Supervisors approved a $45,000 project to improve the well-being of residents in cooperation with the state. The money will be used to conduct a community health assessment and develop a community health improvement plan.

Memorial golf tourney to help PHS football

For those who knew Jack Morris, a memorial golf tournament held each spring in his memory is a way to pay tribute and also earn funds for the Payson High School football program he cherished most of his life. During the tournaments, it’s not unusual for some of Jack’s former Longhorn teammates and coaches to take time away from play to take the short walk over to Pioneer Cemetery to lay a memento on his gravesite. Such a show of respect will undoubtedly occur again at the 9th Annual Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament when it tees off at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, June 9 with a shotgun start. A good turnout would bode well for the football team, which depends on the proceeds from the tournament to purchase much-needed items that cannot be paid for with the cash-strapped athletic budget.

Relay sets mark, bound for state

A Lady Longhorn 4x100 relay team that broke an 11-year-old school record might not be fast enough to earn a top-four medal at the Division III state meet when it plays out today, May 11, and tomorrow, Saturday, at Mesa College. As unusual as that might seem, the team’s record-breaking time of 51.20 is actually only sixth best in the division. “That shows just how difficult Division III is,” said PHS track coach Jonathan Ball. Janelle Hauptman, Morgan Chilson, Bailey Patterson and Jaymi Carlen set the record May 4 at the Snowflake Invitational. As good as the time was, the foursome had to settle for second place behind a speedy Show Low team that was first in 50.88.

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Vaulter leads charge to Mesa

The Payson High boy’s track team will take to the Division III state finals a top-ranked pole vaulter who is widely considered the gold medal favorite. The state finals begin today, May 11, and continue tomorrow, Saturday, at Mesa College. Keith Williams has vaulted 14 feet, 6 inches this season, which is a full three inches better than the second-ranked athlete — Jacob Flores of Seton Catholic. Williams’ coach, school pole vault record holder Bo Althoff, has predicted his student might go even higher, possibly over 15 feet.

Is there anyone more truly beloved than a mother?

A couple of months ago I was posting a comment on a string on the online forum I do for the Roundup. The string was about card playing. We were talking about whether or not anyone plays cards anymore, and the word “card” triggered an old memory. Back when I was a kid a popular brand of bubble gum came in a flat package about two-and-half-by-three inches square. In each package of bubble gum came a trading card. All the cards I saved had baseball players on them, but there may have been other sports in those packages too. It was a long time ago. I don’t remember.

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Antelope Hills beckons Horns for state showdown

The Payson High School golf team takes a lofty No. 3 seed and a talented line-up to the Division III state tournament which beings today, May 11 on the north course at Antelope Hills near Prescott. The tournament continues tomorrow, Saturday on Antelope Hills’s south course. Veteran coach Bret Morse says he’s not sure what to expect in the state showdown mostly because the Horns will be pitted against some teams, including No. 1 seeded Yuma Catholic, which PHS has not played this year.

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The One that got away

Mesa pro scratches out narrow win

Dean Kruezer, a fishing pro from Mesa, is getting accustomed to nail-biting, post-tournament weigh-ins. In 2011 following a Western Outdoor News (WON) tournament at Roosevelt Lake, he was second in the pro ranks with a 10-limit catch that was just .48 of a pound lighter than that of winner John Murray of Phoenix. Close, but no cigar. In Kruezer’s second attempt at WON tournament fishing, May 5 and 6 at Roosevelt, the Mesa fisherman was again involved in a narrow finish.

Annual trout tourney Saturday at Willow Springs

The 28th Annual Spring Trout Tournament is May 12 at Willow Springs Lake from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entry fee is $40 per person and $30 for children under 13 years of age. The entry fee includes a T-shirt for the first 50 registrants. Food and drinks will be provided and a donation for food would be appreciated. Arizona Game and Fish laws do apply with a limit of six trout in possession with a valid fishing license and stamp. There is a limit of three trout per child age 13 or younger, no license required and limit of six with license and stamp.

Tonto Village welcomes three new residents

It’s planting time! The threat of frost is still with us, but we will start with frost resistant veggies and cross our fingers that there will not be a bad cold snap. Maybe a great way to start your garden is to buy that special mother(s) in your life a starter plant such as a tomato plant or something you would like to grow and eat and present it to her on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, have a wonderful day.

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New adviser at Kevin Dick Investment

Carrie Dick is the newest financial planner at Kevin Dick Investment Management Group. In April, Dick passed several exams given by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and is now a financial planner of Commonwealth Financial Network.

Wednesday, May 9

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Quick cooking for a busy lifestyle

The cover story of this week’s Rim Review is about the many events and activities coming up over the next several weeks. There are also the celebrations associated with Mother’s Day, graduations, and all those June weddings, plus Father’s Day. So, there may be a need to get a good meal on the table in record time. To help meet that need, here is a guide and recipe for making the most of a freezer to work ahead, plus some meal-worthy salad suggestions.

Alzheimer’s is common type of dementia

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Flowing Springs History

A little bit outside of Payson via Highway 87 and a Forest Service road is the Flowing Springs subdivision. It sits around the East Verde River and is a beautiful spot with a lot of history. Let’s take a closer look at it, including how Arthur Neal patented it in the 1910s. In the 1880s it was known as the Sidella Place, named for Henry Sidles. He settled there in the late 1870s and the 1881 Yavapai Assessor’s rolls have the following entry for Sidles: “Possessory right to 160 acres of land and improvements on East fork of Verde Known as H. Sidles ranch; 2 Horses $60.00; 20 Cows $300.00; 20 Calves $80.00.”

Summer fun swoops in

Activities abound for sunshine season

Wildlife, fishing, sports, recreation, music, reading and more are all on the horizon in the Rim Country. It’s time to start counting down to summer fun. So, get out your calendars and sharpen those pencils, because there are sure to be some special activities coming up that you and your family will want to enjoy. This weekend, before celebrating Mother’s Day, get down to Green Valley Park for the annual Payson Wildlife Fair, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 12.

Scenic Road Trips

Were you inspired to hit the road by the big Rim Country Classic Auto Club Beeline Cruise-In April 28 or maybe the Cannonball Phoenix Spree May 5? Maybe the Rim Country Corvette Club show May 12 will urge you to get that motor running. With summer just around the corner, the open road beckons. First, have the car thoroughly checked out by a professional mechanic to make sure all is well. Probably the best time to travel is late spring or early fall when the roads are less crowded and the weather milder. Where to go? That’s up to you, but keep in mind you want fairly good roads so you won’t beat up your car. Today, we’ll suggest a few interesting and scenic road trips for your consideration.

Getaway Around Rim Country

ABATE of Arizona High Country Chapter is having their inaugural Bike Safety Day at the Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 12 at Rumsey Park. This is a free event focusing on safety for children on bicycles. There will be food and entertainment, plus bike games and raffles for the children. A bike show for both kids and adults is planned, along with an adult bead run and plenty of fun events for kids of all ages. Vendors will also be participating.

Good 2 Go

The Payson American Legion Riders’ big benefit for the Payson Supply Line is taking place May 12. The Payson Supply Line sends comfort and care packages to active duty military personnel serving in Afghanistan. The benefit helps raise the money needed to purchase the materials and pay for the shipping. The Fun Run will be held at the American Legion Post, 709 E. Highway 260, beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Miss Rodeo Arizona contest comes back to Rim Country

The contests to select Miss Rodeo Arizona and Miss Teen Rodeo Arizona return to the Rim Country next week. Look for an introduction to the contestants in the special Rodeo edition Rim Review of May 16, but mark your calendars now for the events you want to see and get your tickets ordered.

Tuesday, May 8

Clubs and Organizations

Payson Masonic Lodge #70 F&AM meets every second Tuesday of the month. Dinner for members, their families and guests is at 5:30 p.m. with the meeting at 7 p.m. All members of the fraternity are invited to attend the meetings.

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Longhorn golf team primed for state tournament

Payson among favorites to win championship

The Payson Longhorn Express, which is now steaming toward the Division III state tournament to be held May 11 and 12 at Antelope Hills near Prescott, wrapped up its regular season with a convincing three-team match win on May 3 at Pinetop. Currently, the Horns are one of 12 D-III teams that have earned an automatic qualifying berth by posting certain minimum scores at selected matches during the year. With the post-season looming, the Longhorns have played well enough all year long to be tagged one of the state championship favorites. Especially when it’s noted that the Horns posted eight scores that met Arizona Interscholastic Association qualifying standards or “target scores” in March and April.

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Novack turns in coaching reins

After just two seasons at the helm of the Payson High School baseball program, Scott Novack is stepping down as head coach. Novack did not give any specific reasons for resigning, saying instead, “You could say that I am disappointed in our record (16-10) and I am hoping somebody else can come in and take the program to the next level.” Novack’s resignation as head baseball coach does not affect his teaching position at Rim Country Middle School. “I got a couple of possible coaching offers after I resigned, but I’d like to stay on in Payson and teach because I like living here and my kids in class are a lot of fun.”

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Brits return for fourth season

Registration under way for youth soccer camp

When town sports and recreation coordinator Mary Wolf is overheard shouting “The British are coming,” she’s not impersonating Paul Revere but rather letting it be know that Challenger’s British Soccer Camps will soon be in Payson. But having the Brits visit is nothing new —Challenger Soccer debuted in the Rim Country in 2008 and has returned each summer since to provide Rim Country youth a glimpse of what the sport is like in the United Kingdom. The arrival of the British, who serve as camp coaches, is more than just sports. While in Payson, the coaches reside with local families — usually those who have children enrolled in the camp.

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Miracle at Mofford

Lady Horns rally for seven runs in bottom of seventh in storybook championship run

Trailing 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the dreams of Payson High’s first state softball championship were slipping. But then miraculously, the never-say-die Lady Longhorns staged one of the most amazing rallies ever witnessed in prep softball to edge a gutsy Mingus Marauder team 8-7. The win advances the Lady Horns to the final weekend of playoff games this Friday and Saturday — when the best softball team in Payson history must defeat two undefeated powerhouses on consecutive days to win the state championship.

Campus backers seeking support

But Alliance chair insists university plan will move forward regardless of success of fund-raising

Rumors, anxiety, deadlock and a fund-raising campaign have spooked many longtime backers of the plan to build a 6,000-student, $400 million university campus in Payson. However, backers of the four-year quest to build a university here insist that Payson will have a university within two years — even if it’s not Arizona State University. In fact, the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) board at its last meeting voted to seek a development firm to draw up a master plan for the campus.

Star Valley councilors debate town’s future

Council mostly doesn’t want more commercial development on highway

Drive east on Highway 260 and you will get a view of what photo enforcement cameras can buy. Blink and you may miss it. Despite raking in significant revenue from four speed cameras, Star Valley looks largely the same as it did seven years ago when it incorporated — a highway frontage blighted with old buildings, empty storefronts and mismatched signage. But Mayor Bill Rappaport and other town councilors say that lack of commercial development is just fine. They moved to the small community because of what it lacked — big box stores and noisy industrial areas. Star Valley’s real charm lies with the forest and wildlife all around it, Rappaport said.

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Cannonball!

Blues Brothers, Dukes of Hazzard descend on Rim Country for a car rally with a twist

Payson’s Green Valley Park looked like the back lot of a movie studio Saturday as dozens of movie-themed vehicles rolled into town. Outfitted as the Blue Brothers, the Dukes of Hazzard and a good old boy sheriff, car enthusiasts infiltrated Payson for the third annual Elite Car Cruising Organization’s Cannonball Phoenix Spree.

Payson to charge tuition for foreign exchange students

Foreign exchange students will no longer enjoy a free ride from the Payson school district. The school board recently voted to charge foreign exchange students a $5,000 tuition fee. The vote represents a change in policy. Until now, the district allowed foreign exchange students to attend Payson High School (PHS) without charging tuition. The trade off for the free tuition — only three spaces could be filled. That policy changes with this vote for tuition, the board will now allow unlimited spaces for students. The only limitation on foreign exchange students will be how many Rim Country families can take in a student.

Community Almanac

Just in time for Mother’s Day gifts, the Mogollon Health Alliance is hosting Paula’s Bags & More of Scottsdale with a sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 8 at Payson Regional Medical Center main lobby. Proceeds from the sale help support the many programs and scholarships offered by Mogollon Health Alliance.

Letter carriers collecting food

The 2012 Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive is this Saturday, May 12.

Embrace Your Inner Geek 10K and 5K races helped by many

Last Saturday (May 5), the Payson Association for Advanced Learners (PAAL), the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department and the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) held their first collaborative fund-raising event — the “Embrace Your Inner Geek 10K and 5K” races at Green Valley Park.

Payson Choral Society gave us an invaluable gift

Last Saturday (May 5) the Payson community received a gift that is impossible to purchase.

I’m scared

I don’t think there has been a president in the history of our country that has ever been found to be mentally or emotionally unstable, but I am afraid we are very quickly approaching that point with Barack Obama.

Thanks for the introduction

You can thank Sylvia Freeman for inadvertently introducing us to the American Legislative Exchange Council last Friday in the Roundup.

Impossible game defines the possible

Don’t be dumb. Be realistic. Don’t be foolish. Be reasonable. After all, Payson’s just a pit stop on the way to somewhere else. The economy sucks. Business is faltering. No one’s going to build a college here. Real estate values will never come back. We’ll just have to get used to a future defined by food banks and potholes.

Primaries blamed for polarization

Ballot measure intended to increase competition, turnout

Mostly, Arizona’s general election vote offers only a muffled anti-climax when it comes to picking state lawmakers. That’s because most lawmakers run in districts with such lopsided party registration that once they win the partisan primary, the general election is a foregone conclusion. But that all changes if voters ultimately approve a plan to let voters cast a ballot in any primary they want — regardless of their party registration.

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Best inning ever: Even sports veteran has never seen anything like it

More than 30 years of coaching football, basketball and baseball at every level from seventh grade to high school varsity has conditioned me to take nothing for certain and expect almost anything. But none of those experiences — which have included great upsets, go-for-broke wins, disheartening defeats and chilling victories — prepared me for what occurred Saturday morning at Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix. There, the never-say-die Lady Longhorns dangled from the ropes one inning from elimination as they trailed Mingus 7-0 — with just three outs left.

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Building community by conquering fear

Students get new view of themselves from atop an adventure rope course

Applause erupts as sixth-grader Karen Reger steps off the ladder. But her leg shakes, and her hands quiver, and she gasps for air. She didn’t make it to the top of the 35-foot-high climbing wall of the adventure course outside Payson High School because of her fear, but it did not matter. Instead of putting her down, all the Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) students in her physical education class gathered around to pat her on the back and congratulate her.

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East Verde plan could create trout paradise

Trout Unlimited teaming up with Game and Fish to improve signature Rim Country stream

Local fish lovers want to turn the East Verde River into one of the state’s great trout streams. That would be good for the fish — and great for Rim Country’s economy to boot. So now the Gila Chapter of Trout Unlimited has embarked on a fund-raising drive to help the Arizona Department of Game and Fish create a chain of trout-friendly pools along a spring-fed stream that’s already one of the most popular destinations in Rim Country for hikers, fishermen and just-general-splashers.

Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

Keep ’em coming back for more by following these simple rules:

Good news for Chamber members

A national study by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based market research firm, reveals a number of important finds about how consumers and business owners perceive the local Chamber of Commerce and the businesses that are members. • When consumers know that a business is a member of the local Chamber, they are 44 percent more likely to think positively of its local reputation.

May bringing ‘life blood’ back to Rim

May is here, again. The start of the visitor season begins anew. A major portion of the life blood of our businesses and services are returning to Rim Country. Without our visitors, many of our businesses would not be able to continue to serve Rim Country. Our “reach” for business has been calculated at 100 miles, meaning that we need to market that far outside of our communities. Our visitors, second homeowners, campers, and weekenders are vital to the survival of many businesses.

Saturday, May 5

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The Dream Season Continues...

Down 7-0 in the bottom of seventh inning and a dream season about to end, far too soon, the Lady Horns put on one of the most dramatic rallies ever seen in high school softball, to whip Mingus 8-7 in eight innings.

Friday, May 4

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Blue Ridge water gushes into East Verde

SRP sends water down streambed just in time for fishing season

The Salt River Project yesterday sent water gushing down the East Verde River — and not a moment too soon. The spring-fed East Verde had declined to a 3 cubic-foot-per-second trickle where it crosses Cracker Jack Road, according to a brand-new, solar-powered stream monitoring station SRP installed this winter. SRP each year pumps some 11,000 acre-feet out of the Blue Ridge Reservoir atop the Rim, runs it down to Washington Park near Whispering Pines and dumps it into the East Verde.

ADOT seeking comments on bicycle-pedestrian plan

The Arizona Department of Transportation wants to know what is important to Arizona residents when it comes to getting around by bike or foot along the state highway system. Starting this week, community members can help ADOT draft goals and objectives for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and identify action items to achieve them by taking part in a short online survey.

Four finalists vie for Payson High School principal

The principal selection committee has settled on four candidates to interview to fill Kathe Ketchem’s spot as principal of Payson High School (PHS). The committee, made up of administrators, teachers and parents, winnowed numerous applications down to four finalists. The committee will make its final recommendation to the school board May 14.

Busted budget

State sweeps prompt Payson to consider layoffs

The Payson council held an emotional, emergency budget session on Tuesday to grapple with a projected $721,000 deficit for the fiscal year that starts in July. Continued raids on local funds by the state Legislature and rising employee benefit costs could force a fresh round of layoffs and a reduction in many programs. That would include slashing town payments to the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce from $36,000 to just $11,000. The plan also calls for the cancellation of almost all capital improvements and big increases in employee costs for health care. The renewed budget crisis also means the town can’t fill five patrol officer vacancies or end its reliance on two-man crews on fire trucks on many shifts. The possibility of three fresh layoffs at one point left Town Manager Debra Galbraith choking back tears, as the town headed into a fourth year of cutbacks.

Posse rescues injured youth

An 11-year-old Pine-Strawberry girl got an unexpected horseback ride Wednesday after she twisted her ankle on a school hike. The girl was reportedly hiking with 29 fourth- and fifth-grade Pine-Strawberry students on the Donahue Trail, just south of Pine near Milk Ranch Point, when she injured her ankle roughly two miles up the trail, said Earl Chitwood, commander of the Gila County Mounted Posse.

Teachers dwindle

Administrative ratios rise with cutbacks

Two years of resignations and layoffs have cut deeply into the ranks of Payson teachers and classified staff, but left the ranks of administration almost untouched. Even before absorbing two years of lopsided layoffs, Payson’s administrative costs were about 10 percent above average. Since last June, Payson has lost 13 teachers to layoffs and resignations and hired six. The district now has 142 certificated employees, down from 156 in 2010-11. The ranks of non-credentialed staff actually rose in 2011-12 by four. Overall, the classified staff has dropped from 167 in 2010-11 to roughly 154 this year, according to a compilation based on a year’s worth of board agendas. Many of those classified staff do work in the classroom as aides and tutors.

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Fire chiefs defend Deer Creek response

Some angry residents criticized late-arriving, out-of-area firefighters

The Deer Creek community has lacked fire protection far too long, a group of fire chiefs agreed Monday. Recently, many residents were outraged that help did not arrive on April 16 as a house burned to the ground in the small community south of Payson. However, officials attending Monday’s Gila County Fire Chiefs Association meeting turned the tables, saying they are outraged residents have blamed Tonto Basin and Payson Fire for not showing up — when those agencies have no legal obligation to respond at all. “People need to be aware that if they move into an area like this, they have no fire coverage,” said Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch. What fire protection would look like and who would provide coverage remains unclear, but residents should take action before tragedy strikes, the group agreed.

Arsonist torches forest

Police say they are looking for someone that intentionally set the forest on fire Wednesday night. Motorists reported seeing flames just after midnight between Home Depot and Ponderosa Bible Church, in a wooded area in the 1400 block of North Highway 87.

Community Almanac

More than 20 artists will be sharing their work and their studios with the public in the annual ’Neath the Rim Open Studio Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6, presented by the Payson Art League. Tour guide maps are available at the chamber of commerce and at the library.

PSWID integrity?

Again, the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) is replying to Water for Pine-Strawberry (WFPS) advocate group member, Sam Schwalm, by saying he’s misinformed, he’s wrong.

Grateful for teacher

I am a graduating senior at Payson High School.

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Movie music makes its way to PHS

This Saturday, the Payson Choral Society will present its annual spring concert in the Payson High School Auditorium. The show is titled “Let’s Go to the Movies.” There will be 50 of our local 20-year-old choral society members on hand for two separate concerts, with show times for the matinee at 1 p.m. and the evening show at 7 p.m. Tickets are priced at $8 in advance and $10 at the door for the two-hour presentation. John Landino, choral society member told me, “This is going to be a wonderfully nostalgic concert and we’ve really enjoyed putting it together. We’re going to take the audience through a 70-year musical journey, featuring some of the best songs that have ever appeared on the silver screen.

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. All adoptable pets have been spayed or neutered and are up to date with their vaccinations.

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Decision won’t affect management efforts for Arizona bald eagles

The Arizona Game and Fish Department pledges to continue its proven protective management program for bald eagles even though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently decided that the species in Arizona is not a distinct population segment and does not warrant listing as an endangered species. “The Service’s recent decision has no bearing on Arizona’s bald eagle management program that has been in place for more than 30 years and has led to a more than 600 percent increase in the state’s population,” said Larry Riley, Game and Fish’s assistant director for wildlife management. “Arizona has a nationally-recognized bald eagle management program, that in conjunction with federal protection laws that already exist, will help the species continue to thrive.”

Lawmakers again dump on towns

Payson got another heaping dose of bad news this week, courtesy of the Arizona Legislature. Despite three years of living painfully within its means, the Payson council learned Tuesday that it faces a potential $731,000 deficit — thanks in large measure to state sweeps of local funds and soaring state benefit costs. The council got the bad news in a briefing Tuesday together with a list of potential cuts — all of them painful. The governor and lawmakers wrapped up their legislative session this week, with a last-minute budget deal that keeps getting worse as we examine the fine print.

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Justice department upholds new districts, but lawsuits filed

Elections free to proceed in redrawn districts

The U.S. Justice Department has determined legislative maps drawn up by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission don’t violate federal law protecting the rights of minorities — but conservative Republicans have filed twin lawsuits saying the maps do violate their rights. The Justice Department’s prompt approval of the congressional and state legislative maps drawn up by the voter-created redistricting commission means that this fall’s elections will take place in the new districts, since courts probably can’t act on the Republican challenges before the elections — with primaries in August and the general election in November.

GCC going solar; may save $700 a month

College board approves plan to put solar cell array over parking lot

Gila Community College has struck a deal to put up solar panels that won’t cost the district a thing — but will hopefully knock $700 a month off its electric bill. The college will basically follow in the footsteps of the Payson Unified School District, letting a private solar cell company use college land to put up a solar array. The solar company gets the tax breaks and a chance to sell power to Arizona Public Service, while the district gets a break on its utility bill.

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Finally — we understand

GCC board adopts new format for budget reporting after years of frustrated confusion

After years of fruitless frustration, the Gila Community College Board may finally get financial reports it can understand. But don’t get too excited: It still doesn’t actually have any rules or policies. The GCC board last week, in a marathon afternoon meeting, unanimously adopted a new report format in hopes it will finally understand its own budget. The new, two-page format provides year-to-date spending and revenue numbers for each of the three campuses, located in Payson, Globe and on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

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A different sort of Forest Cleanup Day

For this month’s forest volunteer cleanup day, Forest Service officials have planned something special. There will be a little party after the work — and the work will be different. Instead of picking up trash and rebuilding trails, volunteers will move brush.

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SV debates fate of reserve fund

If law requires council to pay itself back for water company — why not just change the law?

With enough votes, town councils can repeal any ordinance. The Star Valley Town Council had this epiphany Tuesday when the town’s manager suggested the council modify the rainy day ordinance so the town does not have to put back in the fund the money it took out to buy a water company. Town Manager Tim Grier said the town’s new water company probably won’t generate money to repay the rainy day fund in the required five years. To avoid violating the ordinance, he suggested the council simply rewrite the law so it need not replace the $600,000.

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Shooters’ Shindig

Tonto Rim Sports Club members — beaming with pride — were eager in 2006 to show off the vast array of improvements that had just taken place at the Jim Jones Shooting Range. So, they opted to host an inaugural open house and outdoor expo they hoped would introduce the public to what was available at the shooting facility located south of town. What the members didn’t know at the time is that the event would turn into such an overwhelming success, they would continue to host it annually. Among the new facilities the public both viewed and used six years ago were six new shooting bays, a 300-yard range, and a field archery range. Those improvements, however, weren’t the only ones that have spruced up the local range. In 2010, TRSC received an $11,500 donation from the Zane Grey Committee’s Friends of NRA. That money was used for drainage improvement projects to curtail the flooding problems that sometimes occurred during heavy rains.

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Cline Poker Run takes on cancer

Laci Sopeland and the Lorraine Cline Memorial Fund are declaring war against cancer, the most dreaded disease of our time. The affirmation to battle occurred April 27 just after the proceeds from the Fourth Annual Cline Poker Run were counted, prompting Sopeland to announce the money — about $17,000 — would be used to fund the inaugural Gila County Hope Fair. At it, Sopeland said, county residents will be eligible to receive a free cancer screening once each year. Out-of-county residents may have a screening for a reduced fee, said Sopeland.

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Lady Horns’ state title pursuit begins

Action should be fast, furious and heated today, Friday, May 4, at Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix where 16 of the state’s finest prep softball teams continue their pursuit of a state championship. In all, 24 Division III teams were seeded into the tournament, but eight were eliminated in the first round on May 2. Among the teams battling for honors are the No. 1 ranked Lady Longhorns who play at 6 p.m. today against No. 17 Fountain Hills. If the Lady Horns win, they will advance to an elite eight showdown at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, probably against No. 8 Mingus. The final four will be played May 11 and the championship at 8 p.m. May 12.

WON bass heats up Roosevelt angling

Tourney to lure fishing’s finest

Western Outdoor News (WON) tournament fishing returns to Roosevelt Lake this weekend for a pro-am tournament that is expected to draw top-notch anglers from around the west as well as most of Payson’s finest. “Many of those from out of state will come from California,” said Tracy Purtee, Arizona’s WON tournament director. Payson entrants include Clifford Pirch, Kyle Randall, Bobby O’Donnell, Keith Hunsinger, Buddy Randall, John Browning and Purtee. The field is an interesting mix, especially Pirch and Kyle Randall, both Payson High School graduates and former Longhorn athletes. Pirch has been fishing the professional tournament circuits, including FLW, B.A.S.S. and WON for a decade, and has enjoyed plenty of success.

Horn golfers clip Falcons, Wolves

Longtime Payson High School golf coach Bret Morse, also a former offensive and defensive coordinator on two Longhorn state championship football teams, is calling his link squad’s winning efforts April 30 in a four-way match at Fountain Hills, “a very solid performance.” Also, he says, the win could help “keep the team chemistry and momentum rolling into the state tournament on May 11 and 12.” At Fountain Hills, pitted against the host Falcons, Estrella Foothills and Valley Christian, the Horns strung together a 149 to win the tournament going away.

Not a good planner? Pray for good luck

Some people seem to have life all planned out by the time they get out of diapers. I keep reading about them all the time: Writers who wanted to write the minute they saw their first crayon; mathematicians who were doing algebra problems while the rest of us were trying to learn the multiplication tables; musicians playing the violin while they were too young to spell do, re, mi, and fa; and kids who were playing doctor with all the neighborhood girls by the time they were 6. Well, that last group may not have been planning a career, though many of them no doubt found a lifetime hobby. On the other hand, come to think of it ...

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School, community — a winning combination

Last Saturday, I attended “Disney’s Cinderella Kids” presented by the Pine Strawberry School Drama Club. I just want to say the cast and crew did a great job. The kids were fabulous. Hailey Hamblen was cast perfectly as Cinderella, with a perfect voice to match. Prince Charming and his court, the cruel stepmother and sisters, fairy godmother and the mouse chorus were well rehearsed and spectacular. Family members and classmates came out in support of the young stars of the show as well as the volunteers who put so much time and effort into making a positive impact on these kids in our community. Although I did not have a child participating, I enjoyed it immensely. Like many of you, I now look back fondly on those days of school plays, sports events, piano recitals, band and choir performances.

Work, support for Hellsgate awarded

What a fantastically grand and wonderful week the Snyder family had! My brother Larry Henrickson came to visit us all the way from Berwick, Pa. — And he drove! Larry has a black 1988 Cadillac Coup de Ville with a burgundy leather interior. What a car! He tried to register it at the car show, but was told the car was too new. Larry is a big fan of car shows (he fixes up old cars and shows them in his hometown), and of NASCAR. Retired driver, Jimmy Spencer lives in Berwick and has a garage there. So naturally, my brother kept track of his career with NASCAR. Jimmy now emcees on the Speed channel.

Voters should be made aware of ALEC

Now that the public is aware of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the goal of privatizing government and eliminating unions, it is time to speak up.

Wednesday, May 2

Sit-down benefit supper

The Community Child Learning Center of the Community Presbyterian Church will have a sit-down benefit supper from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, May 4 at 800 W. Main St. The dinner will feature a chicken enchilada casserole with beans, chips, dessert and beverage for just $5. Dine in or “take out” available.

Salsa tasting and a 5th anniversary celebration on tap for First Friday

This monthly gathering of tourists and local residents began in May of 2007 with a group of Main Street merchants that included Artists of the Rim, Down the Street Art Gallery, Community Presbyterian Church, Gasoline Alley and Bootleg Alley Antiques & Art. A year later, Payson’s First Friday won the Arizona Main Street Award for best special event. On the first Friday of every month — rain or shine — visitors to Payson’s Historic Main Street can enjoy live music, refreshments and ambiance.

Good 2 Go

Market Place: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Bazaar will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 at Bashas’ shopping center. The event will feature quality treasures for everyone.

Celebrating Art

Rim blooms with art events

Rim Country has drawn a rich array of artists into its embrace of scrub oak, ponderosa pine, free-flowing creeks, mysterious canyons and unending vistas. Many of those artists will bloom profusely starting Thursday and running through Sunday, May 6 at events that include three art exhibitions, a play and a concert. The exhibitions include a Wearable Art fashion show at Gila Community College; a fabric arts display by the Threadplayers, also at the college; and the three-day Payson Art League ’Neath the Rim Studio Tour, featuring more than 20 area artists.

Quilted town delights

Wander past the felted roofs and patchwork floors. Peek inside the miniature windows, but don’t pull on the button door handles (they don’t really work). Discover the Threadplayers quilted Threadville village this May at the group’s fourth fiber art exhibit at Gila Community College. The group of quilting artists has each fabricated a pint-sized building, using dozens of quilting techniques.

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 18: Shootout on Main Street

There is a myth about “the Wild West” that leads one to believe shootouts occurred frequently in the frontier towns. Considering today’s murders per capita, the streets in Southwestern towns at the turn of the century were safer. The shootings that did take place were long remembered and often glorified with retelling, like the one that occurred on Payson’s Main Street, Jan. 30, 1910. Many eyewitnesses recorded what they saw and provide us with what must be an accurate account.[1]

The Emerald Isle of Ireland

Many Americans have relatives that came from Ireland. I think much of the American dialect came to the United States and Canada from Ireland. It is perched on the northwest tip of Europe across from Wales and England. Ireland is the land of myths and legends. Its landscape is loaded with labyrinthine caves and crystal clear waterways, and at some locations, lunar-like landscapes. The coastal beauty is a legend in itself with shorelines trimmed by golden sands and rocky outcrops. Inland, the lakelands and rural areas are equally as varied as they are tranquil.

Grilled to perfection

Tender, juicy, flame-kissed and seasoned just right — there may not be anything more satisfying than a perfectly grilled steak. These recipes and grilling tips from the steak experts at Omaha Steaks will help you put the perfect steak on your plate any time you want. Get more grilling recipes at www.omahasteaks.com. You can also download the free Steak Time app to get exclusive recipes and an innovative grilling timer.

What’s in your bank account?

Most of us can relate to a repetitive commercial on TV where the cheerful, yet direct voice asks the listener, “What’s in your wallet?” — the whole premise of the commercial is to get you to buy into (no pun intended) a whole new twist on a old process to increase money, savings, and riches for you.

Getaway Around Rim Country

The Payson Public Library will have a Cinco de Mayo celebration for children and their families from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, May 3. There will be a bilingual story, maraca making, cha cha slide, eating and making mud tacos, a piñata and prizes. To learn more, call Katie Sanchez or Terry Morris at the library, (9280 474-9260.

Pine-Strawberry middle school student injured on hike

Search and rescue volunteers are currently working to get an injured Pine-Strawberry middle school student off a trail.

Tuesday, May 1

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It’s time to get gardening in the Rim Country

Fling wide the doors! Old Sol, shine down your brightest sunshine! Let’s hear a drum roll, woodpeckers and a chorus of birdsong. Line the path with spring flowers — May is here!  “April is promise, May is fulfillment” wrote Edwin Way Teale in A Walk Through The Year. At long last, gardeners can get out and till the soil. There is something therapeutic about getting your hands in warm earth, planting seeds and watching them sprout —and, oh my goodness, that wonderful sense of satisfaction when you harvest the first results of your efforts. Does anything taste better than a salad of lettuce, green onions, spinach and other early veggies right from your own garden?

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Class Acts

At first, Bits Siller only wanted to fill her time once she retired — then tragedy struck and she needed to find solace. She turned to Gila Community College (GCC) teacher Jaqui Jeffrey’s art classes to immerse herself in the healing powers of art. “I find them therapeutic,” said Siller, still grieving after the loss of her daughter. Jeffrey teaches Fundamentals of Design, Color and Design, Drawing, Acrylics, Figure drawing, and Sculpture. All her classes are designed to move the serious student toward an associate’s degree in art — or to learn how to create satisfying drawings.

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Rim blooms with art, theater, music events

Studio tour, slew of exhibits highlight spring-summer lineup of cultural events

Rim Country has drawn a rich array of artists into its embrace of scrub oak, ponderosa pine, free-flowing creeks, mysterious canyons and unending vistas. Many of those arts will bloom profusely starting Thursday and running through Sunday, May 6 at events that include three art exhibitions, a play and a concert. The exhibitions include a Wearable Art fashion show at Gila Community College; a fabric arts display by the Threadplayers, also at the college; and the three-day Payson Art League ’Neath the Rim Open Studio Tour, featuring more than 20 area artists.

Community Almanac

Students from Leslie Peacock’s wearable art classes of the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters at the Payson campus of Gila Community College will present a fashion show from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, May 3 at the college. The students will be showing the many unique creations they made during their courses.

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Bald eagle battle continues to flare

USFWS insists eagles don’t need extra help

Arizona’s population of bald eagles isn’t endangered, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That’s the conclusion that springs from the federal agency’s latest declaration, in response to repeated chastisement by assorted federal judges. For the third time, the USFWS has concluded the Arizona eagles don’t need continued protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Enlighten us

Usually I can puzzle out what I see in the paper, but this time you’ve got me stumped.

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Ex-Amigo bikes for special ops

A former member of the “Four Amigos” 4x800 relay team that set and broke countless track and field records at Payson High School has just wrapped up a 300-mile benefit mountain bike race that began in Mexico and finished in Superior. Tanner Morgan, a 2004 graduate of Payson High who enrolled in the Air Force after graduation and is now in Special Forces, made the demanding cross-country jaunt to earn money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The SOWF is devoted to providing a college education to every child who lost a parent serving in the military during an operational or training mission under the SO Command.

GCC pleads for budget bailout

Faced with another potentially rough budget year, the Gila Community College board approved a plea for help from Gila County. The board last week agreed to ask the county to give the district $300,000, even though the county last year finally turned over ownership of the current campus and an additional 25 acres of undeveloped land to the district. The county has signaled that with the land ownership transfer, it may stop providing the $300,000 annual subsidy it gave when the county owned the campus.

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Deer Creek faces fire dilemma

Fire awakens residents to lack of protection, but other fire districts leery

After a fire ripped through a home in Deer Creek Village several weeks ago, many residents awoke to their dangerous predicament. Already 20 minutes from the nearest fire station, residents found that none of the neighboring fire departments wanted to send crews to the small community south of Rye. The first firefighters on the scene didn’t arrive for more than half an hour and then only because the U.S. Forest Service invoked its mutual aid pact with other departments to keep the fire from spreading to the forest. Payson, Gisela and Tonto Basin Fire Departments all agree Deer Creek has remained unprotected far too long. Community complacency not only endangers homeowners there, but risks inadequate protection in other communities when firefighters leave to help a neighborhood that has never agreed to pay to protect itself.

All-night operation saves injured teen in remote canyon

A teenager’s 25-foot fall off a canyon wall put search and rescue teams to the test Saturday night, with arduous swims through icy pools dragging a floating litter. The 19-year-old took a face-first tumble off a ledge in the rugged Salome Canyon near Roosevelt Lake. His girlfriend watched the tumble, which broke several bones, said Steve Holt, Tonto Basin fire chief.

Fire department personnel part of rescue crews

Ref: your articles in the April 20, by Michele Nelson and Peter Aleshire.

Why be an educator in Arizona?

Why would a person want to be a teacher, coach, counselor, or administrator in our Arizona public schools?

Support education

As a student at Rim Country Middle School, I have noticed steadily declining value and quality of education in Payson.

Don’t love them to death

Payson has a lot of summer homes, and people come here just for the summer from all parts of the country.

Eight apply for high school principal job

School officials plan to present a candidate to fill the soon-to-be-vacated Payson High School principal slot to the school board by May 14. During the last few weeks, the district has advertised with the Department of Education and another Web site for school administrators searching for a position, said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

Longhorn Express steams to state

PHS golf team could be contender at state

The hard-charging Payson High School golf team has played well enough this season for onlookers to cautiously predict the band of five could be a contender for the Division III state championship when it is played May 11 and 12 at Antelope Hills golf courses near Prescott. The first indication the current team was indeed a special one surfaced just one month into the campaign when the team nailed down the post-season invitation by carding its fifth qualifying score in a nine-hole, five-team match at Snowflake Golf Course.

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Chilson shatters 13-second barrier

The girls 100-meter 13-second barrier can be tough to beat as evidenced by the very few high school athletes who eclipse the magical mark each season. But that wasn’t the case for three speedsters April 20 at Eastern Arizona Rotary Invitational in Safford. There, Lady Horn Morgan Chilson bested a field of 31 sprinters, setting a personal best mark of 12.77. Runner-up Jessica Copper of Coolidge also was under 13 seconds at 12.90. St. Johns’ Savannah Brown, a nemesis of Chilson’s for the past three seasons, was third in 12.98.

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Horns’ state bid comes up short

No Surprise for PHS after loss in season finale

Prospects for a banner 2012 season looked promising for the Payson High baseball team after the Longhorns opened with a 6-0 record winning the Fountain Hills tournament and on March 13 improving to 8-1 with a 15-5 win over longtime rival Snowflake. But in mid-March the wheels came of the Longhorn wagon as the team struggled for wins in a desperate attempt to finish among Division III’s top 24 teams in power points and earn a berth into the state tournament. As the curtain gradually fell on the campaign in late April, the Horns desperately needed a win in their season finale against Camp Verde to earn the coveted state ducat. At the time, coach Scott Novack called the clash a “must-have game.” But a victory wasn’t in the Longhorns’ destiny as PHS fell 11-1 and into 25th place in the season-ending power points rankings.

Students could get degree without ever leaving town

ASU program could enable GCC nursing and business students to get a four-year degree here

Students at Gila Community College can soon take advantage of a new program to earn a four-year degree without leaving Payson. In addition, the GCC board last week also agreed to work actively to partner with universities to establish programs that will enable its students to transfer smoothly to a four-year university — especially if a university builds a campus in Payson.

Hometown fans can give Lady Horns an edge

A banner turnout of fans and supporters is sure to be a morale booster for Lady Longhorn softball players when they begin pursuit of the school’s first state championship at 6 p.m. Friday, May 4 at Rose Mofford Complex located at 9833 N. 25th Ave. in Phoenix. It’s a given in sports circles that athletes, from elementary age to the professional ranks, play better in front of a supportive crowd.

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Kids learn dangers of driving drunk

Catalina Coppelli didn’t like how it felt. “It was off. I was walking the line ... it was hard to find your foot and put it on the line,” the sixth-grader said of wearing goggles that imitated the vision a person has after drinking. Catalina and her classmates were participating at one of the many stations set up as part of Rim Country Middle School’s (RCMS) H.E.R.O. assemblies.

Obama and his dream team

As we now trespass the $4 mark on a gallon of gasoline on the way to ever-new record highs, it is a good time to analyze and comment on this administration’s energy policy, if we can find it.

Why not protect our bald eagles?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seems bound and determined to minimize protections for Arizona’s growing — but still fragile — population of bald eagles. What a strange spectacle. What a sad waste.