Stories for February 2014


Friday, February 28

Tying statehood and education funding together

Why do I tie statehood and education funding together? Because Arizona used to have plenty of money for education, but the federal government overreach has led to a decline in tax proceeds for education funding. By acquiring the public lands that were supposed to be transferred to us in 1912 at statehood, Arizona would have a lot more land under production. Taxes could fund our schools.

The circus returns: Send in the clowns

Lock your doors: The circus is back in town. And here’s the worst part: They’re passing laws. Alas: the Legislature continues to juggle hedgehogs and sell tickets to the freak show, while out here in the real world students struggle.

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March coming in like a lion

This March will roar in like a lion with the National Weather Service (NOAA) calling for 100 percent chance of showers on Saturday, the first day of the month.

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PCS students see ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at ASU Gammage

Most people know the story of “The Wizard of Oz,” with Dorothy getting sucked up into a tornado and landing in the land over the rainbow.

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Common dog myths debunked

Here at the Humane Society of Central Arizona, we often hear a lot of myths about cats and dogs.

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Enrollment rises, but schools still $1 million short

No layoffs, but tough choices for board

Despite a rise in enrollment and a tiny increase in basic state aid, the Payson Unified School District could face a million-dollar shortfall in the upcoming budget, the weary school board learned this week.

A bold, brave proposal

Hellsgate Battalion Chief Dave Bathke this week made a compelling case for an operational merger of the small, struggling Rim Country fire departments.

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Open enrollment deadline March 31

Payson Unified School District would like parents of second-grade students to know they may apply for open enrollment, but must do so before March 31.

Shop locally

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “shop locally” numerous times, but what exactly does it mean to you?

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Mesa del pipeline loan OK’d

Payson hookup will raise rates but eliminate shortage

Mesa del Caballo residents will no longer see trucks bearing expensive water trundling into their community this summer — a loan to build a pipeline cleared all hurdles last week, an­nounced the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.

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Payson High golfers hope to keep program rolling

Payson’s high school golf team has finished among the top eight in the state the past five years.

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Facility upgrades mean better service

Gila County facilities are bulging at the seams, which produces extra problems around election time when voters try to take advantage of early ballots. Payson staff for the county recorder and assessor share the small building on the southwest corner of West Frontier and South Colcord.

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GCC to add more vocational classes

Gila Community College Dean Stephen Cullen announced two new vocational classes for Payson students at the board meeting on Feb. 20: cosmetology and medical billing.

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Around the World in 8 Plates is match made in culinary heaven

“This is Payson’s Epcot,” said Sharry Jarrell as she sat down in the Rim Country Middle School cafeteria to enjoy a helping of broiled asparagus wrapped in Canadian bacon and cheese sprinkled with breadcrumbs paired with an herbed white fish spread on toast from Denmark.

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PHS thespians to compete at state

It’s said that 97 percent of people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy at a funeral. If that’s true, the Payson High School (PHS) thespians deserve kudos for getting up on stage this weekend to compete at the state regional festival this weekend.

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Green Valley display dazzles

DJ's Music Trivia

In my 11 years of living in Payson, I’ve never seen anything like it. And those who saw it, too, said they had never witnessed anything like it either.

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Another birthday coming up

Your Turn

You are reading this, God willing, on Feb. 28, 2014, but I wrote it on the evening of Dec. 24, 2013, the evening before the day of the birth of Our Lord and a time, I felt, for reflection and a counting of blessings because my birthday was coming up soon.

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20 go to Valley wedding

Another Week in the Creek

Christopher Creek was well represented in Old Town Scottsdale last Friday night. Samone and Josh Flores were wed with upwards of 150 well-wishers witnessing the ceremony.

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Community loses a hard-working, life-loving daughter

Rattlin' the Rim

Family and friends of Allyson Rene Randall gathered in Pine on Saturday to celebrate the life of the former Pine Elementary and Payson High School student who died Feb. 6 at 45 years of age.

Sign up for PMGA season

The Payson Men’s Golf Association is now accepting members for the upcoming season, which plays each Wednesday at Payson Golf Course beginning March 12.

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Good news on weather front

The Village

I heard some exciting news on the radio this week — we may get some rain, maybe even snow!

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Senior Center offers Pilates, Irish dance

The Payson Senior Center will add a Pilates exercise class and an Irish dance class to its lineup of spring activities.

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Payson Community Garden reopening this weekend

Classes start, gates open and plots selling out

Time to pull out shovels and spades — the Community Garden on East Tyler Parkway will host an open house on Saturday, March 1.

Little League tryouts set for Saturday at Kiwanis Fields

Payson Little League is holding a tryout/skills assessment on Saturday at the Kiwanis Fields. Parents who have not already done so may register their child to play Little League that day. The opening day is April 5 at Rumsey Park.

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Fire departments face crisis, ponder agreement

Agreement could save $500,000

Rural fire departments must cut costs and cooperate to maintain existing services, Hellsgate Fire Battalion Chief Dave Bathke told his board members on Wednesday.

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Strong staff aids Tenney in new role

More Than a Game

Kadi Tenney is a veteran assistant softball coach.

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Longhorns look to win all the marbles

State title the goal after reaching semis last two seasons

After losing in the Division III softball state semifinals each of the last two years, the Longhorns have their sights set on breaking through and winning the first state championship in program history this spring.

Unity of Payson founded by three

In your paper of Tuesday, Feb. 25, an article about Unity of Payson stated, in two separate places, that Lynnette Brouwer is the founder of Unity of Payson church. This is incorrect.

Gosar and staff unresponsive

I am writing to urge your readers to vote against Paul Gosar for re-election in the 4th Congressional District.

Wednesday, February 26

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Man missing south of Young

Searchers in helicopters, on quads and on horseback are searching for a man missing south of Young.

Tuesday, February 25

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TRSAR members honored with service pins

For working countless rescue missions free every year, Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd recognized members of Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Feb. 13 at the Payson Public Library, which was aglow in neon orange rescue shirts.

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Locals finish in top 3 at spelling bee

On Thursday, 23 students from every school in the county vied for the chance to represent Gila County at the Arizona State Spelling Bee at the 2014 Gila County Spelling Bee held in Miami High School’s auditorium.

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Sponsors sought for ‘Star Valley Color Me Crazy 5K’

The Payson High School Adventure Club plans a 5K fund-raiser April 26 in Star Valley.

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Unity of Payson chooses spiritual leader

Unity of Payson members recently voted to bring on Dr. Lynnette Brouwer as their spiritual leader.

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Superintendent search launched

Déjà vu all over again.

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Bachtell a natural choice for special events coordinator

Takes over after five years at event center

“It just made sense.”

Define ‘doom’

A letter writer accuses the Tea Party of unnecessarily “warning of impending doom” caused by the administration of President Obama (Roundup, Feb. 18). He claims he is free because he can attend any one of more than 30 different churches and worship as he pleases. That’s true, so long as the church does not preach adherence to the U.S. Con­stitution, upon pain of losing its tax-exempt status.

Pension systems recovering, still best value for taxpayers

Glaring headlines about Arizona’s public worker retirement system suggest that your typical retired teacher, firefighter or police officer is sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere enjoying a six-figure pension. Meanwhile the state’s pension funds are running out of money, leaving you, the taxpayer, stuck with the bill.

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Towns plead for money Legislature filched

Barton pushing gas tax bill

Several state lawmakers hope to restore road-building money to counties and towns this year by forcing the state to pay for the highway patrol and other state expenses out of general fund money instead of gas taxes.

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Star Valley road project gains approval

True to the promise to improve the community’s roads, the Star Valley town council approved an $8,188 project Tuesday.

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Election reforms bedevil lawmakers

Legislature moves to repeal election reforms to thwart initiative

What a mess.

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Great corn chip caper in Pine

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office says someone mailed crushed corn chips to the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, but they aren’t sure why.

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Junior Longhorn Wrestling Camp

A couple of youngsters enjoy their experience at the Junior Longhorn Wrestling Camp at Payson High’s Wilson Dome Wrestling Room last week.

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Fire merger possible if boards approve

Chiefs: Agreement will improve both budgets and service

A joint powers agreement could cut fire department costs and improve service, fire chiefs from four Rim Country departments have concluded.

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Crime wave

Officers juggle slew of cases

A busy, violent weekend and a flurry of court activity produced a mini-crime wave in Rim Country.

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Outlook bright for talented, experienced Horns

Lost just 1 senior from strong squad

A sign hangs on the wall of the home dugout at Payson High’s varsity baseball field. It reads: Focus on the next 200 feet.

Loss of regular light bulbs costly

If you like your light bulbs, you can’t keep them. (This promise was honest).

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Champs eliminate Payson girls 70-30

Bulldogs too much for Longhorns

CHINLE – The Longhorns salvaged their season with a strong finish to the regular season and an upset of Snowflake in the opening round of the Division III girls basketball state tournament.

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Main Street building will get face lift

Something new with an old twist is coming to Main Street.

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Host families needed for foreign exchange students

The search is on for local host families for International Exchange Students for the 2014-2015 high school year.

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GCC students make Academic Team

Scholars earn two-year college tuition waivers

Two Gila Community College students were honored Feb. 19 at the All-Arizona Academic Team luncheon in Mesa, along with 71 other students from Arizona’s community colleges.

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Forest thinning tangles in dispute over tree size

Restoration project’s focus on big trees endangers consensus behind 4-FRI

Environmental groups say a forest-thinning project on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon confirms their worst fears about the Forest Service management of the troubled forest thinning contracts.

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Gosar’s wildfire bill signed into law

A new law will loosen environmental review conditions on thinning bark-beetle infested forests and make it easier for states to thin unhealthy forests and restore damaged watersheds.

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Senior Circle Weekly Calendar of Events

Monday: Tai Chi 9-10 a.m.

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News & Notes in Brief

Residents of the Rim Country are invited to a farewell gathering in honor of departing Payson Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Chris Wolf and his wife, Mary.

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Ask the pharmacist

I have been taking a name brand medication for the past three years. Recently, my doctor prescribed a generic. Is the generic as effective as the name brand? Why would my doctor prescribe a generic over a name brand?

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Silent killers: Abdominal aneurysms kill 15,000 each year

Screening, treatment limit toll of vascular rupture striking 190,000 annually

Every year, 190,000 Americans develop abdominal aortic aneurysms. The resulting 15,000 deaths make it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., Dr. Alfonso Munoz, M.D., told listeners at a recent Lunch & Learn program at the Senior Circle.

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ER doctors work to ease patient fears

Medical emergencies are stressful. But the emergency room doctors at Payson Regional Medical Center are committed to easing your fears if you have an encounter at the emergency room.

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Students jumping for heart health

Driving down Rancho Road, passersby could not help but see the Payson Elementary School (PES) playground full of kids jumping up and down, flashes of bright color going around and around.

Future Longhorns Baseball Camp March 12th

This camp will be held at the Payson High School baseball field from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 12 and is open to all boys in the third-eighth grades.

Fire department merger bold idea

Easy enough to tell folks you ought to get a raise, have more authority, run the world. So, maybe you’d discount it if someone earnestly assured you they could solve your problems if you just give them more power and autonomy.

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Conflict prompts GCC lobbyist to quit

Bill seeking fair workforce funding spawns controversy

A conflict involving vital workforce development funds has prompted longtime lobbying firm Triadvocates to quit representing Gila Community College (GCC) before the Legislature, according to a Feb. 5 letter sent to board president Sam Moorhead.

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Community Almanac, Feb. 25

Try foods from other cultures at the “Around The World In 8 Plates” Chef Event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25, sponsored by the Payson High School Culinary Arts students.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 25

Val Sullivan will be giving a program at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 6 at the Genealogy Library, 302 E. Bonita St. The program is an “Introduction to Fold3 Military Records” to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.

Friday, February 21

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Community Almanac, Feb. 21

There are two last-minute openings for the Palm Springs trip, which is Wednesday, Feb. 26 through Friday, Feb. 28.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 21

The Mogollon Chapter 1235 of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees will hold its monthly no host luncheon and meeting Wednesday, Feb. 26, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260. The guest speaker will be Emily Linkey, director of the Payson Public Library.

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Pine water: No contest

Eight candidates file for seven seats

Only eight candidates filed for the seven seats on the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District board prior to the deadline.

College a vital partner

The Gila Community College governing board took a historic step this week by finally moving forward to seek accreditation.

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Pine-Strawberry to resume brush work

Communities rally on brink of frightening fire season

Despite the loss of grant money, Pine-Strawberry will still hold brush pick-ups this year after a community group, residents and the fire department rallied to save the program.

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Upset in overtime!

Longhorns advance in playoffs

SNOWFLAKE – A diving, scrambling, just-won’t-quit Payson Long­horns girls basketball team scored the triumph of the season Wednesday by upsetting Snowflake to advance in the tough Division III state tournament.

Residents in P-S leading the way

The residents of Pine and Strawberry have once more demonstrated what it takes to make a community. Far-sighted citizens have worked fiercely for years to thin the brush and tree thickets that threaten the two communities.

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Man found dead beneath all-terrain vehicle

A man was found dead under his ATV Thursday morning near Geronimo Estates.

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GCC moves forward

United board seeking accreditation

After years of struggle, the Gila Community College (GCC) board voted Thursday to cut the check and approve the vast amounts of information collected to start the accreditation process.

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Celebration draws a crowd

Throng of Rim Country’s best turn out for awards

Waves of laughter and smiles flooded the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino banquet room Monday night setting the already sparkly room aglow as the winners of the Best of Rim Country were announced.

Pot is a gateway to disaster

Recently I wrote (a letter) about convicts that were trying to get back into society, and I gave them a job.

The true killers are alcohol and tobacco

I must admit that I am confused after reading the rebuttal letter about the dangers of pot.

Important constitutionally conservative movement

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Arizona State House Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee met for the third day in a row for further discussion, debate and finally a vote on HCR2027 Calling for A Convention of States for the Pur­pose of Proposing Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; and HB2305 Joining a Compact of States to Propose a Balanced Budget Amend­ment under Article V of the United States Constitution.

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Archers hit target in Sierra Vista

Six from PSE in top 10

The Pine Strawberry Elementary archery team displayed its marksmanship with six of its 10 competitors placing among the top 10 in a Feb. 8 shoot in Sierra Vista that featured archers from all around the state.

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It’s a busy time of year for Payson Area Special Olympians

While the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia are wrapping up, the Payson Area Special Olympians are going strong.

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Payson volleyball teams battle it out in Show Low final

A pair of Payson clubs represented Rim Country well in a Go Girl Volleyball tournament in Show Low on Saturday, Feb. 15.

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See talented Longhorns Saturday

More Than a Game

Payson High’s baseball season doesn’t officially begin until the Longhorns participate in next week’s Fountain Hills Invitational on Wednesday and Friday.

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Meditation is not for all of us

I’ve always believed that since we’re all different it’s only natural that we like different things, but I also believe there’s a natural overlap among us, and when someone says he hates something other people seem to love, he may be missing out on a good thing.

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Lawmakers press forest thinning bill

The state will put up $25 million to help counties and towns thin fire-prone forests on state lands, according to a bill sponsored by the Rim Country’s state legislative delegation.

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Adopting a pet is Pawsitively Pawsome

Here at the Humane Society of Central Arizona we are so excited about our Valentine’s Special that we ran last week, we have decided to continue the special till the end of February!

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Club trips build character

A dedicated teacher, a generous ski resort and parents willing to get up by 5 a.m. — that’s what it takes to pull off the Annual Rim Country Middle School Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) ski trip to Sunrise Resort.

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Not too soon to get ready for fire season

Here we go again — trouble with my computer.

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Fuel reduction effort explained at rare weekend meeting

Prompting from weekend and summer Pine-Strawberry residents encouraged the Fuel Reduction Committee to host a rare Saturday meeting to allow the part-timers to hear updates on fire prevention and trail building efforts.

School board invocation

How many more times will we have to hear someone misquote the “separation of church and state” mantra without knowing what they are talking about?

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Drill for disaster

Firefighters brave the smoky darkness

Smoke filled the old home quickly, pouring out from cracked window seals, rusty air conditioner units and a hole in the roof where a downed tree lay.

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T-shirts and shorts in fashion for February

It seems almost unbelievable that this current run of warm, dry Rim Country weather has continued for so long.

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Christopher Creek in state of confusion

Christopher Creek is in a state of confusion.

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Pinon: New cafe with historic roots

There is now a place to eat a Mogollon Monster, the Elvis and a Croque Madame.

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Chub comes home

After a long and nearly fatal absence, humpback chub have returned to the waters of Havasu Creek, deep in the Grand Canyon.

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Where the world began...

Montezuma’s Well nurtures a miraculous ecosystem of leeches and flukes and shrimp and myth

I stand happily on the edge of the world’s beginning — pondering how wonderfully it’s all going after such a mysterious start.

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Original Piñon Cafe’s rich history

The original Piñon Cafe property was owned by the Ira R. and Goldie McNeeley family for 30 years, from January 1956 through June 1986. The cafe was named after the piñon (or pinyon) pine, which produces nuts long a vital food for Native Americans.

Tuesday, February 18

Lip Sync support appreciated

The Payson Rotary Club Foundation, Rim Country Optimist Club Foundation and the Longhorn Theater Company wish to thank all the businesses, organizations and individuals for their support of the Lip Sync Contest.

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Water customers take a stand

Payson Water Company (PWC) customers should pat water watchdog Tom Bremer on the back.

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Doggone dog catcher’s gone

Payson without animal control since August

Payson hasn’t had an animal control officer on duty since August, unleashing complaints about barking and loose dogs all around town.

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PHS Auditorium to get a facelift

Look for the Payson High School Auditorium to have a shiny new coat of paint before the start of next year, plus a plethora of other upgrades, thanks to Director of Facilities Todd Poer.

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Voden’s release conditions not loosened

A judge has denied Mike Voden’s request to loosen his release conditions and let him go shopping three hours a week.

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Mesa del Caballo customers challenge rate

A five-day hearing in front of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) resulted in a clarified water rate structure for Mesa del Caballo (MDC) and highlighted the difference between Phoenix and rural water fees.

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Rim Country lawmakers pushing gun rights law

Rim Country’s legislative delegation teamed up to introduce a bill that would protect the right of anyone with a concealed weapons permit to take a gun into public events and buildings.

A certain perspective

Getting older ...

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Payson wins big at Future Business Leaders conference

On a Saturday Feb. 8, 13 students from Bud Evans’ Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) class trundled down to the ASU Polytechnic Campus to compete and win against 17 other schools.

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Girls push way into state tourney

PHS opens state tourney Wednesday

Payson’s 12-16 record might lead some to wonder whether the Longhorns had a good girls basketball season.

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The two sides of the ‘fat’ story

The Healthy Foodie

Fats are bad!

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RCMS students stage science fair with flair

Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) science teacher Carm Locke huddled at the far end of the gym, surrounded by more than 250 tri-fold presentations with science project results splashed across the white space.

Government takeover a political cheap shot

So, let’s get this straight: A state lawmaker wants government to take over a private business so the state can use tax money to provide inferior service at the expense of private job creators.

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Drought back with a vengeance

Normally wet months bring barely any rain

Rim Country’s scary-dry winter continues this week — with no end in sight.

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Rim Country Health stakes claim in community service

The owners and operators of Rim Country Health are proud to tell the community their facility is locally owned.

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School Board invocation evokes equivocation

During a routine vote to approve the template for the board agenda, Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board member Shirley Dye asked to add an invocation to the list of items.

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Election reform brouhaha

Lawmakers repeal law to thwart initiative

What a mess.

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The Doctor Is In — Mike Darnell, D.O.

Orthopedic surgeon, black belt practices what he preaches

Mike Darnell, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon with Payson Regional Bone & Joint and a third-degree black belt with several artificial joints, practices what he preaches.

Exercise in citizenship

Gotta love Tom Bremer — and all the folks like him who make this such a remarkable country.

Wolf numbers growing

Regarding the article “Wolf numbers jump 10 percent after long lag in recovery” — I hope the number jumps to 25 percent in the next few years.

Pot’s harm doesn’t discriminate

Recently I wrote (a letter) about convicts that were trying to get back into society, and how I gave them a job. And I said that most of them were doing time for crimes related to drugs and that they all told me they started on pot.

Governing bodies stink

Hmmm ... Perhaps there is an odor emitted by our national legislative body when it is in session is akin to that of a dead mackerel that has lain in the sun for a couple of days.

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That pain in the neck could be a jaw problem

The truth about TMD

Going to the dentist is almost always about teeth, gums and dental health. But it can also involve the joint that makes the jaw work and avoiding temporal mandibular disorder (TMD).

Warnings of impending doom

Apparently the Tea Party saw its shadow again last week. We are already hearing the tired old desperate warnings about impending doom caused by the administration of President Barack Obama.

A big thank you

Julia Randall Elementary and Payson Elementary Schools would like to extend a big thank you to Patrick de Haan of Positive Network Alliance, Inc. in Phoenix.

Post Christmas gift wonderful

I am writing to you to share one recent piece of “good news” from Payson Elementary School.

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Six medalists push grapplers up to 4th in state

Chase Elmer takes 2nd to lead Horns

After going 24-5 in dual matches this season, Payson High’s wrestling team looked to cap off a strong season with a good performance at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III Individual State Tournament.

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Welcome to Rim Country Health

Where motto is: ‘Our residents come first’

Rim Country Health provides skilled nursing, rehabilitation services and independent senior apartment living for area residents.

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Libbie Mangum joins staff at Payson Physical Therapy

Libbie Mangum, PT recently joined the therapy team at Payson Physical Therapy and Sports Training Center. She has practiced in Payson for the past three years at a care facility.

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Tribe donates to Payson, Star Valley

The Mazatzal Casino made its regular cash awards to the towns of Star Valley and Payson recently to help provide community services.

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Chris Wolf accepts transfer

Chris Wolf, chief executive officer of Payson Regional Medical Center, an­nounced his plans to take a new position this past Friday.

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Community Almanac, Feb. 18

Apparel Pro Health Care Wear will be having a Scrub Sale in the Payson Regional Medical Center West Lobby from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 18

Fly-fishing equipment will be displayed at the 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 22 meeting of the Payson Flycasters Club at Tiny’s, 600 E. Highway 260.

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It seems 'spring is here'

A delightful surprise greeted me last week as I walked through the Safeway door. Alongside the floral department was a tall vase filled with pussy willows — real ones!

Friday, February 14

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Rural water system loan bill advances

A bill to set aside $30 million to help rural areas get loans to build or improve water systems advanced out of a state legislative committee this week.

Ways to know you might be feelin’ the love

My college roommate and I dreaded Feb. 14. Only “cool girls” were called to the lobby for beautiful bouquets of Valentine’s flowers and brightly colored boxes of rich chocolates. Susie and I hated that day.

These programs are not ‘extras’

The Payson School Board may soon face a painful choice.

Writing for rights

For 52 years Amnesty International has been writing letters on behalf of individuals worldwide who have been deprived of basic freedoms. During that time some 44,000 “prisoners of conscience” have been freed, largely because of such letter writing.

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Builders back

Payson projects with hundreds of homes in early talking stages

Developers are finally once again showing interest in Payson, with several housing developments now in the very early talking stages.

Payson Water Company’s ‘miscellaneous expenses’ need scrutiny

I live in Mead Ranch serviced by the Payson Water Company.

We need to spruce up our image

There was a house fire on Rancho Road several months ago. I don’t recall the exact date, but it happened within a day of the fatal shooting on Rancho Road.

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Jared Varner returning to football field

Shakes off concussion to earn scholarship to ACU

Jared Varner thought his football career was over when he suffered a concussion in Payson’s final regular-season game at Show Low last November.

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Grapplers get back at it

More Than a Game

Let the wrestling resume.

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Here’s to a great Valentine’s Day

The Village

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, especially to my hubby, Bill. We have been together for 56 years and he is the love of my life. My life with Bill has been better than I ever imagined it could be. Thank you, Bill, for your love.

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A promise is a promise – sometimes, Part 2

Your Turn

Last week, I left off at the point where George Dasch and Pete Burger had landed on a Long Island beach as part of a four-man German sabotage team.

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Defending champs beat PHS in semis

Girls shift focus to state tourney

SHOW LOW – The Longhorns stormed into Tuesday’s Section IV Girls Basketball Tournament on a roll.

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Rim Country economy finally gaining ground

Sales rise 7% as Payson’s plan review fees jump 44%

Rim Country’s economy continues to gain ground with a 7 percent improvement in sales reported on Payson’s January financial tracking report.

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Readers playing favorites

Who will be chosen Best of Rim Country?

Who serves up Rim Country’s best Mexican food? Steak? Fish fry?

McCain couldn’t care less about constituents

I was one of the precinct committeemen in Gila County who voted to censure Senator John McCain.

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12 in 2014 Taste of Rim Country

Delight to the delicious selections of a dozen entries in the 2014 Taste of Rim Country event at the Payson Public Library.

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Jury assaults juvenile

Another Week in the Creek

Christopher Creek was the scene of mob violence this past week. It came in the form of a vigilante committee hell bent on exacting their penitence from the focus of their wrath.

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The men and their music that made history

DJ's Music Trivia

“Ladies and Gentlemen – The Beatles!”

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Animal cruelty furor

Barton’s bill would exempt farms, ranchers from from existing rules

Animal rights groups took aim this week at a bill sponsored by Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson) that exempts ranchers and livestock operations from provisions of the existing animal cruelty laws.

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Couple, four dogs escape house fire uninjured

A couple and their four dogs escaped uninjured from a Sunday morning house fire.

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Culinary students vie for careers and scholarships

Chef wants to give back and elevate taste

Three Payson students competed this weekend in hopes of adding to the total of $152,271 in scholarships Payson High School (PHS) Culinary Arts students have received since 2006 from the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (CCAP).

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School programs threatened

Credit for Kids change could hurt bands, clubs

Credit for Kids, the 16-year-old tax credit that allows individuals to donate to schools and take $200 off of their tax bill, has fallen under scrutiny at the state level. The resulting legal opinions and policy changes have already affected many Payson students and vital extracurricular programs.

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Citizens explore continuation of transportation excise sales tax

The Gila County Board of Supervisors has appointed a citizens committee to advise it on the continuation of the half-cent Transportation Excise Sales Tax, which has been in place for the past 20 years.

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Remembering Nancy

Rattlin' the Rim

Nancy Althoff’s friends and family members will gather at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 15, in the Payson High School Auditorium to celebrate the life of the former Payson Unified School District teacher and counselor. Nancy died Jan. 19 at 76 years of age.

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Time Out names new executive director

Welsheimer draws from her own experience in an abusive relationship

She was only home late three minutes from work when she found her boyfriend had become an enraged, green-eyed beast she had never known.

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Unknown substance mailed to water district

A mystery package mailed to the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Thursday initially alarmed officials until they figured out it was an unknown food substance.

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Community Almanac, Feb. 14

Native American comedian J.R. Redwater will be performing at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb 25 at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino event shop.

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Shelter offers Valentine adoption special

The Humane Society of Central Arizona is participating in a national Valentine’s weekend adoption promotion sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 14

Payson Art League will meet Tuesday, Feb. 18 at a new place: the Church of the Nazarene, 200 E. Tyler Parkway.

Tuesday, February 11

High school wrestling tournament rescheduled for Friday-Saturday

The state Division III and IV State Wrestling Tournaments will take place on Friday Feb 14 and Saturday Feb. 15 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, the Arizona Interscholastic Association announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon. Payson wrestlers will participate in the Division III Tournament.

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Senior Circle promotes healthy lifestyle

Senior Circle is a national, non-profit organization that encourages a healthy and active lifestyle for adults 50 and older.

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Fake singing, real laughing

What makes the Payson Lip Sync Contest such an amusing, entertaining and lively event?

Payson at last starts to grapple with the fire code

The Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu reportedly said: “The journey of 1,000 miles begins beneath one’s feet.”

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Mini-stroke can inflict maximum damage

Mini-strokes, also known as a transient ischemic attacks (TIA), might last only a few seconds or so, but they demand the same immediate attention as a major stroke.

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Skin infection leaves wrestlers in limbo

Payson’s wrestlers were ready for the section tournament. But the section tournament wasn’t ready for them.

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Prevent heart disease by knowing risk factors

It’s February and that means it is American Heart Month. Before you skip this article, ask yourself — no matter what your age — is there a history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure in your family? Have any relatives died from a stroke or a heart attack?

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Boys close on a high note

England scores 28 as PHS snaps streak

Kain England picked a good night to turn in one of the best games of his career.

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Be still my heart

Ask The Experts

A fluttering heart isn’t always romantic — it can also be a sign of a health condition called atrial fibrillation.

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Stay fit with short, intensive workouts

“No matter where you are today, you can improve physically.”

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GCC wants to bring cosmetology to Payson campus

NAVIT money would help launch program

Gila Community College is poised to bring cosmetology training to its Payson campus.

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Her life spun out of control

A woman whose life spun out of control after she became entangled in the area’s drug subculture shortly after moving to Payson was sentenced Monday to 6.5 years in prison for drug-related charges.

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Massive change

Building code overhaul includes fire protection

Payson has undertaken a top-to-bottom overhaul of 1,000 pages of building code, including changes intended to reduce the danger a wildfire will sweep in from the forest and rage through the densely forested town, according to Payson Mayor Kenny Evans.

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More flower options, just in time for romance’s big day ...

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Safeway has a new head florist and she brings with her 36 years of experience.

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Lifesaving shot

School board OKs plan to cope with deadly allergic reactions

Twenty-five percent of the population has an undiagnosed potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to allergies such as bee stings, so the Arizona state Legislature voted to allow schools to stock EpiPens in case of emergency.

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Business stoked at Payson medical marijuana dispensary

Uncle Herbs’ customers sampling edible products

It’s been six months since northern Gila County’s only medical marijuana dispensary opened and the owners report things are going well, so well they are planning to expand their line of edible products and sell their own in-house pot soon.

Addictive types will always get addicted

Recently we read a letter from a gentleman who stated he worked at a firm that employed convicts and recovering drug addicts. He said that all the workers started on pot.

Barton is a true patriot

This letter is in response to the letter published Jan. 24 headlined, “Barton needs to respect the Constitution and the electorate.”

Throwing good money after bad money

Bad money: Building a dog a dog park.

It’s all a con

Given that the economic report cited by a letter writer (“More on priorities” Roundup Jan. 31) claiming that the top 95 percent of all profits over the last decade went to the top 1 percent of Americans, came from a so-called economist at the bastion of far-left wing economics and politics, the University of California at Berkley, one has to consider the source. Besides, the report did not claim “over the last decade”; it claimed the period of 2009-2012: Three years.

Brush pit crisis

Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, regarding cooperation among fire departments in the Rim Country. Why won’t Payson get on board?

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Girls crash section tournament hoops party

PHS also headed to state tourney

A state tournament berth was a long shot for Payson’s girls basketball team a couple of weeks ago.

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Take it from us: They’re wearing red

Holly Crump, Amity Justice, program coordinators for the Eastern Area Health Education Center, teamed up with Sanja Long and Heather Williams from the Mogollon Health Alliance to don red to improve awareness of heart disease among women.

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Cardiovascular Disease: Know the symptoms

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack” where no one doubts what’s happening.

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Lawmakers still fighting AHCCCS expansion

Judge throws out lawsuit, but committee approves new restrictions

Republican state lawmakers continue to fight tenaciously to prevent the federally funded expansion of health care coverage for low-income residents — despite setbacks in court and the equally insistent opposition of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

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A different take on the Mogollon Monster

Civil engineer turned author Valerie Farr visits Payson Saturday to sign copies of her book “Ailiya – The Lost Sasquatch.” Farr said of her work, it is “unlike any that I have heard or read concerning Bigfoot.”

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Heroin user’s second chance ends with same result

Just two weeks after a judge gave a Payson man a second chance on a drug charge, police arrested him passed out with a stash of drugs.

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5K through streets of Star Valley

PHS club hopes to color runners crazy

Star Valley’s town council will sponsor the April 26 5K fund-raiser planned by the Payson High School Adventure Club.

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JRE students ‘Fuel Up to Play 60’

Fifth-grader enters Dairy Council/NFL photo contest

Rebekah Rice and Donna Moore struggled to put on the heavy Payson Fire Department (PFD) gear, grunting and tugging in a good cause.

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Community Almanac, Feb. 11, 2014

This hearts and flowers day, send a Singing Valentine Telegram delivered by the Payson High School Voci Choir.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 11, 2014

The February meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, in the conference room of the Payson Public Library.

Saturday, February 8

Girls qualify for section tournament

Payson’s girls basketball team has finished fourth in the Division III Section IV standings and qualified for the section tournament semifinals at Show Low.

Friday, February 7

More effective, efficient government

First, let me tell you that I am a Democrat. That said, I like to describe myself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I am not for smaller government, but for more effective, efficient government. I think that most government is necessary and that we would be a very different country if we were to accept the smaller government argument.

Skin infections leave wrestling tournament in limbo

The Arizona Interscholastic Association postponed the 16 high school wrestling sectional tournaments scheduled for Saturday because a number of wrestlers have contracted a skin infection, according to a press release from the AIA.

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DPS officer honored by Gila County attorney

Gila County Attorney Bradley Beauchamp has named wounded Department of Public Safety Officer Seth Meeske as the law enforcement officer of the quarter.

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Wolf numbers jump 10 percent after long lag in recovery

Increase comes as feds ponder rule change

The number of Mexican Grey Wolves trotting through the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico jumped to 83 in 2013, a roughly 10 percent increase.

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Coffee shop plans boffo car show

Bring on the chrome — and coffee?

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Still mucked up

Computer snafu still snarling up county collection

Gila County Treasurer Deborah Savage could not give the board of supervisors a firm answer when asked if the problems that delayed tax bills would be fixed.

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A place to help veterans readjust

The Merritt Center, with the assistance of healing practitioners and mentors who are veterans themselves, is offering special educational retreat programs to returning combat veterans (both men and women).

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Disappointment over Pony Express visit

Rattlin' the Rim

Hashknife Pony Express riders have for more than a decade thrilled Pine Strawberry School students by thundering into town to re-enact, with much fanfare and pomp, an exchange of mailbags much like the original Express riders did in the American West from 1860 to 1861.

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Dreaming of a team mat tournament

More Than a Game

With Payson kids ready to begin their quest for individual state wrestling glory with the sectional tournament at Winslow High on Saturday, I can’t help but express my disappointment in the absence of a team state tournament in Arizona.

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RCMS girls win tournament

Boys fight to 3rd place

The Rim Country Middle School Mavericks girls basketball team won both its games to win the seventh grade girls championship in the four-team Kenny Hartnett Memorial Basketball Tournament at Tonto Basin School on Saturday, Feb. 1.

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Girls close regular season on a roll; eye playoffs

Sophomores crucial in late-season surge

The girls basketball team entered Thursday’s regular-season finale against Globe playing their best basketball of the season.

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Cougars edge PHS boys 53-51

Horns suffer another gut-wrenching defeat

Payson is a better boys basketball team than its record indicates.

Incident Command System provides framework to build safer schools

On Tuesday morning the entire Payson High School/Rim Country Middle School complex, including Payson Center for Success, transportation, maintenance, the warehouse and IT, locked down due to a potential threat. Thankfully, the incident ended with no harm done and none intended.

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Water rate hearing: More heat than light

Residents struggle to understand proposed doubling of water bills

Frustrated Rim Country residents trying to get answers to questions about a proposed doubling of their water rates spent this week’s Corporation Commission hearing mostly drilling dry wells.

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Pine audit ordered

Supervisors agree to five-year review of water district records

The Gila County Board of Supervisors this week ordered a five-year audit of the finances and management of the Pine Straw­berry Water Improvement District.

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School scare

Man with gun actually visiting probation officer on campus

Officials locked down Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School Tuesday morning when a man with a gun was spotted on the high school campus.

Obama creating a socialist state

After watching Barack Obama lie to the American people nonstop in his State of the Union, for the sixth time, as he does everything he can to bring this once great country down to its knees.

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Police reports reveal haunting details of Payson killing

Lethal mystery: Self-defense or something else?

Right away, Officer Chris McDonough heard a woman screaming and a dog barking.

Payson jazz show on tap this weekend

A weekend of jazz will tune up and let rip this weekend in Payson.

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Star Valley finances remain healthy

A mid-year checkup shows Star Valley’s finances are in good health. The town has almost $3 million in cash and savings halfway through the 2013-14 fiscal year.

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Linden a wide-ranging talent

DJ's Music Trivia

The Tonto Community Concert Association has yet another dandy event to present to the community on Monday night. “An Evening with Hal Linden” is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m. in the Payson High School Auditorium.

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Just for Us – an alternative to cabin fever

Another Week in the Creek

Christopher Creek hadn’t had much snow that year, but it had been pretty cold. Back then there were more folks here year-round it seems. In 1990, or was it ’91, my employers were Tony and Janie Sotomayor, who had the Land­mark. Weeknights at the bar were pretty dead; we needed some action.

Gush of opportunity

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill

Adult basketball league

The registration deadline for adult basketball is closing in fast.

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Chance of snow – keep your fingers crossed

The Village

Tonto Village had a dusting of snow on Monday afternoon. In anticipation of a significant amount, my hubby broke out his snow shovel and he watched the snowflakes as they became bigger and bigger, then smaller and smaller, then stopped.

Jr. Longhorn Wrestling Camp

The Eighth Annual Junior Longhorn Wrestling Camp is open for boys in third through eighth grade.

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A promise is a promise — sometimes

Your Turn

Although you will read this at a different time, I am writing it on Thanksgiving Day, a day when you and I are focused on things we are thankful for.

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Community Almanac, Feb. 7, 2014

The Tonto Community Concert Association hosts “An Evening with Hal Linden” at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 at the Payson High School Auditorium.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 7, 2014

The Payson Lions Charitable Foundation will be providing flag displays at local businesses and homes during the Feb. 17 President’s Day holiday and six other annual holidays throughout the year.

Tuesday, February 4

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Community Almanac, Feb. 4

The 6th annual Lip Sync Contest is Saturday, Feb. 8. It will be held at Payson High School Auditorium at 7 p.m.

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Brush pit crisis

Firefighters alarmed at setback to brush clearing

With the fire season already looming, fire departments throughout the region are working feverishly to reopen the brush pits where homeowners can drop off brush cleared from their property.

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Short sentence, long rap sheet

He has ‘unbelievable’ drug history, felonies, but proves a useful witness

A man with eight prior felony convictions and an “unbelievable” history of substance abuse is heading back to a prison cell after a judge sentenced him for two more felonies Monday. Miguel Junior Samarripas, 33, will serve five years in prison for selling a stolen PlayStation and stealing a receiver from Walmart.

Spend money on real education

An open letter to the Payson Unified School District Governing Board:

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Outreach draws in friends, more

The Friends of Payson Parks & Recreation have been around for about 10 years. It is a low profile group that works to provide additional resources for programs presented by the town’s parks department.

Attack on Barton a mistake

The recent letter headlined “Rep. Brenda Barton’s mythology continues” in the Payson Roundup is a prime example of the misunderstanding about the Constitution of the United States and its history.

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Champions of the mind: Payson heads for playoffs

Grueling competition with lots of community support

After a grueling weekend of exams, students from Payson High School’s Academic Deca­thlon team took second place in its region, guaranteeing them a spot in the state competition.

These kids have given us hope

Feeling low? Think the country’s in a muddle? The schools have lost their way? Families are faltering? And no one really cares?

Fiddle until we burn

Guess we’re not quite as bad as the Emperor Nero: He fiddled while Rome burned. We’re fiddling before Payson actually burns.

Charging too much tax is fraud

The temporary tax passed by voters in 2010 expired on May 31, 2013, bringing the state tax rate of 7.6 percent to 6.6 percent, which began June 1, 2013.

The need for calculus

In response to another writer’s reply to my letter regarding calculus. The writer should research “private colleges” on calculus requirements.

We the people can make big changes

“These are the times that try men’s souls” is just as relevant today as it was in 1776, made clear by Thomas Paine. Make no mistake — freedom in America hangs in the balance.

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Subtle signs of spring peeking out

It may just be February, but there are subtle signs of spring if you know where to look.

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Court exposes confidential records

The Gila County Superior Court is licking its wounds after learning a citizen uncovered sensitive documents tossed in a recycle bin.

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The hottest ticket in town

Tickets are selling fast for the deliciously styling Taste of Rim Country fund-raiser for the Payson library.

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Republicans censure one of their own

County Republicans blast John McCain for voting record

The Republican Party’s harsh censure resolutions aimed at Sen. John McCain have set off a rash of inter-party polemics.

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Man steals $23,000 from his family

Judge imposes 90-day jail sentence, orders restitution

A man that siphoned nearly $25,000 from his family to fuel a drug habit will spend up to 90 days in jail and 36 months on probation while he pays back every dime.

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Payson just a truckin’ on

Rim Country gets good grades from writers

A perfect storm put Payson on the map to draw national media attention by hosting the rollout of Chevrolet and GMC’s newest line of three quarter and one-ton pick-up trucks. The Rim Country’s terrain, weather, and location cinched the deal.

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Not a starter, but ‘he brings everything, every night’

Jacob Dixon’s not a benchwarmer, he’s a team starter

Jacob Dixon doesn’t produce eye-popping statistics. In fact, he doesn’t get to play very much. But make no mistake about it — the senior guard is a very valuable part of Payson’s boys varsity basketball team.

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How can women save men they love?

Ask the Coach

Here’s the good news: Gila County has a lower incidence of cancer in men than other Arizona counties; and Arizona reports a lower incidence than other states.

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Rushing downcourt: Playoff slot near certain

Girls basketball team continues climb up Division III rankings

What a difference a week makes.

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Slip sliding away

Winslow rallies to beat Horns

It looked like Payson’s boys basketball team might just end its frustration last week.

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When your chair is trying to kill you, it’s time to Take a stand

As I stand writing this, my chair sits with its back to me. Swiveled away in silent protest I like to think, upset that I haven’t settled into its comfy embrace for hours.

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Mogollon Health Alliance: “Heart of the community”

“Every community needs both a head and a heart. If Payson’s head is the Town, then clearly its heart is the Mogollon Health Alliance,” says Mayor Kenny Evans, president of the Mogollon Health Alliance on the organization’s Web site. 

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MHA Black and White ball brings in $45,000 for charities

Alliance adopts an ambitious 2014 agenda

At its major fund-raising event of the year — the Black and White Ball — the Mogollon Health Alliance (MHA) raised $45,000 to help its myriad of projects.

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Thrift shop benefits community

Thrift shop goodies and items unique in Payson contribute to the programs of the Mogollon Health Alliance, which in turn benefit the community.

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Payson wrestlers 3-0 at Chino Valley to cap 24-5 season

Daniel Cluff wins freshman title

Payson closed the dual portion of the wrestling season by winning all three of its matches at Chino Valley on Friday to improve to 24-5.

Voting process corrupted

I had an occasion to go into the local recorder’s office recently and as the clerks were very efficiently serving me, my eyes were drawn to a collection of posters on the wall.

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Clubs and Organizations, Feb. 4

The Payson Area Woofers Society (PAWS) monthly meeting is at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the Payson Public Library meeting room, 328 N. McLane Road.

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Schools briefly go on lockdown after man seen carrying a gun

Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School were briefly put on lockdown Tuesday morning after a district employee spotted a man walking on campus with a gun.