A New Year Brings New Hope


Rick and Shara Weiss and family were among the local community members and businesses that supported P/S School’s Career Day and many other events last year. They look forward to continuing to work with the P/S community from their new home in the East Valley and wish all their P/S friends and neighbors a happy and prosperous new year.

Rick and Shara Weiss and family were among the local community members and businesses that supported P/S School’s Career Day and many other events last year. They look forward to continuing to work with the P/S community from their new home in the East Valley and wish all their P/S friends and neighbors a happy and prosperous new year. Photo by Joy Hafford. |

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On Tuesday we crossed the threshold into a new year knowing that nothing has really changed except the date on the calendar. Our unemployment numbers, cost of living and taxes are still going up while bank accounts, 401k’s, wages and job prospects are plummeting. We face financial challenges, health issues and personal struggles. But as we enter the new year, a mysterious and magical transformation occurs in our hearts and minds. No matter how dismal the circumstances on Dec. 31, as the sun rises on the new year, hope is reborn and miracles lie in the realm of possibility. This year is going to be better.

Stop there and hold that thought. With faith, hope and optimism, step over the threshold into the promise of a new year.

Support your local school

Since the earliest days of P/S, the community has been committed to its children and their schooling. On the frontier, schools were the hub of the community, with people flocking there for business and social activities, from public meetings to community dances.

The Strawberry Schoolhouse was established by Mormon pioneers in 1884 and still stands today. At the historic Community Center, the foundation was laid not only for a high school, but also for the school district of today that preserves family and small-town values.

On its Web site, the district refers to the partnership between home, school and community as the “cornerstone” of its vision, recognizing the role the community shares in the development of its children. It is in the communities in which they live that children grow, develop their potential, achieve successes and learn to interact with their neighbors and world. Whether we have children in the school or not, we all have a responsibility for the development of future generations. If we have time, we can support school events or volunteer. If we have money, we can give. If we have knowledge, we can share.

A good start is to recognize and thank school administrators, staff, teachers and board members. Our teachers are dedicated, hard-working, caring and giving — though often underpaid and underappreciated. I will feature profiles on the special individuals who serve the P/S children in the coming weeks.

In December, Dr. Linda O’Dell, Gila County School Superintendent, administered the Oath of Office to two new board members at P/S School. Current board members, President Margaret Parker, and Jessica Barnett were re-elected for another term. Michelle Wintrich and Diane Roeder did not run for re-election.

Principal/Superintendent Michael Clark will retire this school year after eight years of service to the school, 21 years in education and 18 years as an administrator. His dedication to the community and the children of the district has been unsurpassed. He is highly praised by students, parents, fellow educators and the community for his innovative leadership and making P/S School a better place.

After a two-year process with many setbacks along the way, P/S School’s Photovoltaic Solar Electric System began generating a third of the school’s electrical power in November. The school will see a significant reduction in the electricity bill through the implementation of the cost-saving solar equipment. It was reported that in just two days of operation, the district realized a savings of approximately $200 and a 424.71 reduction in CO2 emissions. Superintendent Clark’s legacy will be “warmly” remembered — literally.

The school will hold a Community Forum at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9 in the gym. The purpose is to update the community on the east playground improvement and drainage construction program.

Let’s all resolve to support our school, teachers and children this year and in so doing, enrich our own lives and our community.

‘Get your Kicks’ at the Library

Libraries, like schools, are a focal point of communities. In 2012 the library brought us classes in computers, oil painting, photography, hosted authors and book signings, programs for home-schooled kids and much more.

The staff and volunteers are bringing a unique program to kick off the new year. They are one of 50 libraries across the state selected to offer a program on John Steinbeck’s novel the “Grapes of Wrath.” The book’s title is a reference to the line in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” — “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.” Participants will learn about Arizona’s Route 66 and discuss its role in the novel.

Many adventurous spirits have traveled the road that offers a nostalgic slice of Americana in towns and cities along the route. It has inspired Hollywood movies, Broadway plays, a television series and music lyrics telling you to “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Route 66 is more than just a road, but a remnant of the past, with the longest stretch in Arizona. John Steinbeck’s novel is more than just a book, but also a landmark in American literature. If you love history and books, you don’t want to miss the program in the Library Activity Room from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24. Come share your thoughts on the historical road and a great American novel.

Pine couple celebrate anniversary

On Friday, Dec. 28, 20 of Cindy and Bob Maack’s closest friends met at their home in Pine to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Bob and Cindy, owners of the Ponderosa Market, served a steak and lobster dinner. Following dinner, there was socializing, dancing and plenty of happy tears. Bob and Cindy have been residents of Pine for many years and have bestowed countless contributions to our community. Congratulations to the special couple.

Wishing you all a new year of endless possibilities, health, happiness and prosperity. To share your miracles or events, please e-mail haffordjoy1@gmail.com.

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