Future Of Water District On Minds Of Many

Rattlin' the Rim


Many water users are scratching their collective noggins wondering what will come out of a Gila County Board of Supervisors meeting to be held 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 16 in the Pine Cultural Hall. The meeting is being held to discuss the options of managing the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District in light of the resignations of five board members.

District One Supervisor Tommie Martin has said about the upcoming meeting, “The full board of management will attend” and “the primary purpose of the meeting will be to serve as an information sharing and listening session.”

Some PSWID customers were hoping the supervisors would appoint a third new member to form a working quorum with current board members Tom Weeks and Sam Schwalm. The two are the only board members who did not resign several weeks ago when Ray Pugel, Ron Calderon, Gary Lovetro, Mike Claxton and Richard Dickinson all resigned while facing the possibility of being recalled.

The supervisors, however, might not have the power to appoint board members — the statutes on such actions are vague.

The best hope scenario among some, including Pine resident Pam Mason who was active in the recall, is that the supervisors act quickly so that a possible PSWID board election can be held in the spring.

In a letter to the board of supervisors, Mason wrote, “I am asking that the BOS discuss and take action on the question of a May 2014 public election of PSWID board members.”

She then stressed the urgency of the situation, “The call for an election date deadline is January 20th, 2014 and this is just four days after the referenced January 16th public meeting.”

The issue of how to solve the PSWID board dilemma was one hottest discussions on the Roundup blog drawing 96 posts in the last month.

The upcoming meeting is open to the public.

Wagon train clinic

Round ’em up and head ’em out will be the goal of Rim Country cowboys and cowgirls who enter the sixth annual Driving and Harnessing Clinic to be held Jan. 24 and 25 at the H-4 Ranch located at 49831 North Highway 188 in Tonto Basin.

Organizers, which include Bill Brown, say the clinic will include hands on demonstrations in harnessing and hitching from a single horse to a team of three and four abreast and up to four.

There will also be demonstrations of rope pulley systems, working with farm implements, including plows, disks and mowers.

The participants will work with a range of horses from minis to drafts. There will be forecarts, single carts and wagons to work with. The fee for the two days is $200 per person and $250 for couples. Visitors are welcome to the ranch to watch and enjoy the clinic. Times for both days are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (928) 479-2981.

Smokin’ good

Longtime Rim Country resident Jerry Laird — a good friend to hundreds and a genuine gentleman — knows a thing or two about smoking.


Jerry Laird’s smoked salmon recipe is a hit with all those who try it. The recipe, coupled with a state of the art electric smoker, produces mouthwatering salmon with little effort.

And he claims I’m the one who influenced him to smoke.

His accusation stunned me because I’ve never smoked cigarettes, never will and don’t much care to be around people who do.

But the always affable Jerry proved he was right by producing a Payson Roundup newspaper column I had written more than a decade ago.

In it, I told of the joy of learning how to cook meat, poultry and fish with a wood smoker I had received for Christmas.

I wrote about which types of wood were best for smoking, cooking times, temperatures and the sheer delight of enjoying a meal that centered on scrumptious smoked-cooked meats.

Jerry said reading the article prompted him to try smoking and since that first effort he’s grown very fond of the outdoor cooking method.

In fact, some of his friends at Club USA, where we both work out, say Jerry has morphed into a darn good smoke-style chef.

Knowing that, I asked Jerry if he had ever smoked salmon because I was planning to do so for a family holiday get-together we had scheduled in the Valley.

Jerry assured me his smoked salmon recipe was the best around and was willing to share it.

Early this week, I followed his directions to the letter and as Jerry predicted, the sockeye salmon was mouthwateringly good and a hit at the family celebration.

Jerry assures me the recipe also works well with other fish, especially trout.

If you’d like to try it, Jerry’s willing to share the recipe:

For the brine:

1 cup water

2 cups soy sauce

1 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup white unbleached cane sugar

1/4 cup sea salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

3 pounds salmon fillets


Thoroughly mix all brine ingredients, ensuring that all dry ingredients are well dissolved. Place the salmon in a non-metallic container and cover with the brine solution. Make sure that all pieces are completely covered with brine. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Rinse the salmon with cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Allow to air dry about an hour. Smoke the fish at 220 to 225 degrees using apple or your favorite hardwood until flaky. Fish is done when the interior temperature reaches 135 to 140 degrees.

New Year’s resolutions

Now that the New Year is officially here, it’s time to make those resolutions and hopefully live up to them.

Among the personal promises that would benefit the entire community is to volunteer for one of the many civic organizations in Pine and Strawberry.

The groups go a long way in making our mountain hamlets a better place to live.

Among them are the Community Education Recreation and Civic Association of Pine and Strawberry (CERCA), Strawberry Elite (now known as Mountain Village Foundation), Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee, Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation (SCAF), Pine Strawberry Business Committee, Take Pride Project, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Friends of the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library, Pine Strawberry Food Bank, Pine Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society, DPS Quilt Angels, Strawberry Patchers and the Riff Raff Club.

Build your skills

There is still time to register for the computer training session to be held 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 25 in the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library activity room located behind the community center.

The session, which is being taught by Ray Baxter, will include an introduction to using Windows 8 or 8.1 and a preview of Office 365.

The fee is $10 and students should bring their laptop and power supply. Registration is mandatory and can be done by phone (928) 476-3678, or by visiting the library in person.

Since class size is limited to 15, sign up soon or you risk being left out.

Baxter says the class will be useful even for those only thinking about purchasing a new computer.


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