Moviegoers cheered as they watched Katniss Everdeen use her archery skills to survive and return home safe after winning the “Hunger Games.”
While the five-member Pine-Strawberry School archery team won’t be launching arrows for their survival as Katniss did, they will have school and community pride on the line when they travel May 8-10 to Louisville, Ky. to compete in the National Archery in Schools Championships.
The Buffalo team, which includes Micheal Aguon, Raci Miranda, Emma Paine, Caleb Barlow and Angelina Blanch, qualified for the national showdown at the Arizona championships held March 15 at Ben Avery Range near Phoenix.
While qualifying for the finals is a huge accomplishment, it does bring with it a single glitch — the cross-country jaunt to Louisville will be expensive — about $500 per qualifier.
In an effort to raise the money needed for the trip, donation jars have been set up at local businesses including Uncle Tom’s, the PSWID office, Early Bird Café, Randall House and Pine Hardware. More sites are expected to be added soon. Donations, which can include Credit for Kids, can be dropped off at the Pine-Strawberry School.
Also, the national qualifiers are currently scouring Pine and Strawberry seeking pledges for a benefit Shoot-a-Thon to be held April 28. Pledges will be per point scored with a maximum of 300 points possible.
Team supporters with a sweet tooth are not being left out; a bake sale will be held noon to 4 p.m., Friday, April 18 in front of the Payson Safeway store
Also on the fundraising agenda is a silent auction at Uncle Tom’s and other local merchants. Auction items are needed. To donate, call the school at (928) 476-3283.
Several supporters, after learning of the pending trip to the national finals, have already stepped up to help out.
They include George Randall at Payson Concrete, Brad Cole with CH2M HILL, Sidewinders Saloon, Randall House and Dianne Mitchell, Kim James, Jim Lewin, Sue Lewin and John Mayhall at Sunny Mountain Realty.
The archers wish to extend a huge thank you to those contributors.
Team members also thank Chasin’ a Dream Outfitters in Payson for helping keep the archery equipment in tip-top shape.
Team coaches Dean Pederson and Margaret Johnson laud the young qualifiers for their dedication, saying they have arrived at school at 7:15 a.m. and remain for practice until after 4:30 p.m. “honing their skills to be ready for nationals.”
The coaching pair also says they are extremely appreciative of the community and school board for their support during the growth of the youth archery program.
The statewide archery program, with which the school is affiliated, is administered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to promote international-style archery as part of the in-school curriculum to improve educational performance. The program also has a goal to improve participation in the shooting sports.
PSWID citizen elections
During a Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Citizens Budget Review Committee meeting on April 3, three members who formerly sat on the PSWID governing board were elected officers.
Tom Weeks was chosen chairman, Don Smith vice chairman and Sam Schwalm secretary.
Also at the meeting, Schwalm presented a slide show that addressed district rate changes, revenue and expense forecasts, capital spending, reserve funds and property tax rates.
Brad Cole of CH2M HILL, the firm that manages the district, told the committee that a master plan is being developed, but will not be done in time to influence the work of the budget committee.
The Citizens Budget Review Committee will meet again at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, April 12, in the Pine Cultural Center to discuss a proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.
Public input is welcome.
The budget will eventually have to be approved by the Gila County Board of Supervisors.
Foundation hosts Casino Day
Although the Justice McNeeley Foundation’s main fundraiser is a quad and motorcycle poker run held each fall, the group now hosts a second benefit to earn money which eventually will help needy children.
It is Casino Day, which will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 26 at the Sportsman Chalet in Strawberry.
The inaugural event was held in 2012 and because it was a success, organizers decided to continue to host the fundraisers.
The entry donation is $15 per person with additional buy-ins, or donations, available for purchase.
Games will include blackjack, roulette, craps and Texas Hold ’em.
All donations are 100 percent tax deductible and the foundation is a 501(c)3.
Both Casino Day and the annual poker run, are dear to the heart of Katie Lynn Parks, the mother of the boy — Justice McNeeley — for whom the foundation is named.
The foundation was begun in 2004 to earn the $8,500 needed to buy Justice, then an engaging, witty 5-year-old who suffered from spinal muscular atrophy, a motorized wheelchair called a Go-Bot.
Almost everyone in the two mountain hamlets knows the feel-good story that resulted — the event was an overwhelming success, Justice got his Go-Bot and organizers were so happy with the results they decided to continue the effort, forming the foundation and adopting a motto of “Help Us Help a Child.”
Since the inception of the benefit, the fund has doled out thousands of dollars to help pay the medical expenses of needy Rim Country children.
“Dental, hearing, glasses, orthotics — anything they need, we try to provide,” said JMF fund chairman Chuck Collins.
In the past few years, the foundation donated more than $3,600 to purchase a trainer to help a disabled boy learn to walk; $5,500 to pay a surgery bill; $5,400 for dental braces; $2,400 to pay a child’s doctor bill; and more than $2,400 for specialized hearing aids.
This year, needs are even greater than in the past.
“With the economy the way it is, we are overwhelmed with applications for children needing medical support and we never want to be in the position to have to turn a child down because of funds,” said Parks.
For more information, go the website: justicemcneeleyfoundation.org. or go to Facebook.
Easter fun day
The Fifth Annual Easter Egg Hunt Fun Day will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 19 at the Pine Trailhead located just south of Pine.
The day, which is free, will include an Easter egg hunt, coloring area, fire truck, Easter bunny and handmade candy baskets.
The event is sponsored by Mommy Perks, Rim Country.com, THAT Brewery, Windmill Corner Inn, Strawberry Patchers, Peacock Pottery, The Boys Store and Monkey do Project.
Patchers to host quilt show
The Strawberry Patchers are gearing up to host the 18th Annual Quilt Show to be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 13 and 14 in the Pine Cultural Hall.
Admission is $2 and those who bring a can or package of non-perishable food to donate will receive a raffle ticket for a quilt drawing to be held June 14.
Quilt appraisals are by appointment.
For entry forms and information call Elaine Putnam at (928) 978-3464 or Kris Lovetro at (602) 390-2046.
Arizona Trail work begins
On April 6, Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee volunteers began trail improvement work on the Arizona Trail southeast of Pine and will continue to do so on April 12, 19 and 26.
Workdays are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and volunteers should meet at the Pine Trailhead just south of Pine. Workers should bring their own lunch, snacks and water.
April 26 has been designated a “Major Work Event” by trails coordinator Mike Brandt. Lunch and snacks will be provided by the Fuel Reduction Committee, but workers should bring their own water.
Brush pickup returns
The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee will begin brush pickups on April 28.
The program is for do-it-yourself property owners who do not have a truck or trailer to remove thinned brush from their property.
Only green waste such as brush, branches, small cut rounds and leaves, cones and needles will be picked up.
For this year’s program, Pine has been divided into pickup zones 1 through 4 and Strawberry into 5 through 8.
Fuel Reduction Committee chairman Mel Palmer is urging residents to find out the zone in which their property is located and the deadline date for which brush will no longer be allowed to put out on the roadside.
Zone maps and pickup dates are available on the committee’s website at: psfuelreduction.org.
Guild sets festival dates
The Pine-Strawberry Business Community (PSBC) has announced dates for the highly popular summer festivals.
• May 3-4 – Fifth Annual May Day Celebration
• May 24-25 – 34th Annual Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild Spring Craft Show
• June 7-8- 24th Annual Strawberry Festival
• July 4-5 – 34th Annual Summer Craft Show
• August 9-10 – 4th annual Mountain Daze Festival
• Labor Day weekend - 34th Annual Fall Craft Show
• Oct. 11-12 – Seventh Annual Fall Apple Festival and Antique Show.
For more information call Sheri Earp at (928) 476-3655.