Borrowing from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Rain at last, rain at last, thank God almighty we had rain at last.”
The first precipitation of the year arrived July 4 when about .54 inches of rain fell in Pine and Strawberry.
With both communities choking under a long drought that began last winter when there was very little snowfall in the Rim Country, residents finally celebrated the arrival of the monsoon season.
Forecasts are for continued isolated thunderstorms and more chances for rain.
The 4th of July Arts and Crafts Festival appeared to once again draw throngs of visitors to Pine, but some of them, as well as the vendors, left town more than a bit disgruntled.
The ire was the result of an ADOT decision to not allow parking along either side of Beeline in front of the community center.
Christy Powers, a member of the Mountain Village Foundation that hosts pancake breakfasts at the summer festivals believes the first ever parking ban created hard feelings, “The vendors were unhappy and most of them said they will not come back.
“This is a terrible situation.”
Powers says that during a meeting a week ago ADOT officials told the Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild members that they have received complaints from people driving north and south on Beeline that they were delayed in Pine due to the festival.
“There have been five or so complaints over several years,” Powers said.
Also at the meeting, ADOT officials’ direction to guild members was there could be no parking 33 feet from the center line of Beeline in both directions and that area cannot be obstructed by vendors.
One source, a posse member, said the decision to not allow parking came directly from the governor’s office.
Arts and Crafts Guild President Gail Jones says she did not hear any direct feedback from vendors or visitors, but realizes they were upset, especially those vendors who set up along Beeline outside the community center and those who could not find parking near the event.
“I told them we are working on finding parking for the next show,” Jones said. “We are working with ADOT to follow all the rules.”
In addition to restricting parking, the guild was instructed to place flashing message signs at both ends of town to slow down drivers.
Powers is among those obviously upset, “We have gotten along just fine for many years having these events (and) no one has been injured or killed,” she said. “Why can’t they just leave us alone?”
As for the pancake breakfasts that fund Mountain Village Foundation’s numerous charitable efforts, Powers said, “Considering all the obstacles our breakfast went quite well. “Not bad numbers considering the parking situation and the threat of rain.”
The First Baptist Church of Pine invites all residents to attend a free community supper from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 16 at the church located at 4039 N. Highway 87. Call (928) 476-3552 for more information.
The Friends of Strawberry Patchers is hosting the Sixth Annual “A Beautiful Quilt Auction” on Saturday, Aug. 9 in the community center.
The event opens at 11 a.m. for both registration and preview. The auction starts at 1 p.m.
Admission is free, however, those who donate a can or package of non-perishable food for the local food bank will be entered into a drawing for a quilt.
For more information and forms, call Kris Lovetro at (602) 390-2046.
Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race organizers met yesterday, July 10, to continue laying plans for the fourth annual benefit. Organizers Katie Calderon and Janet Brandt wrote in an email to volunteers that the meeting was to focus on a discussion of “how to make this year’s event the biggest and best so far.”
The pair also wrote the event was being well received around the state, “there’s a lot of buzz out there in the racing community about our little town.”
The race will be held Sept. 12 to 14.
School board vacancies
Cody Barlow, Pine Strawberry superintendent/principal announced last week that the school board will have three vacant seats at the end of 2014. A pair of those seats are for four-year terms and the other is a two-year term.
Barlow is encouraging those concerned with the future of children and public education to get involved by running for one of the school board seats.
Those interested should pick up election packets at the school or call Gila County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Linda O’Dell at (928) 472 5371.
Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction volunteers will continue work on the Arizona Trail Saturday, July 12.
Work begins at 8 a.m. and will continue until noon. Volunteers should bring their own lunch, snacks and water and meet at the Pine Trailhead south of town.
Additional work programs are from 8 a.m. until noon July 20, with lunch and snacks provided the by the committee, but volunteers should bring their own water; and from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 26.
The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library hosts a book review of “Adventures of Lil’ Cub Mercy Flight” by Barb Stratton from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, July 12 in the main library. Copies of the book will be available to purchase and refreshments will be served.
The library’s children’s summer movie program continues at 1 p.m., Thursday, July 17 with “Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure.”
There is no admission, but space is limited so arrive early.
Refreshments will be served and children should bring their own pillow to be more comfortable on the floor.
The program Social Security Claiming Strategies is from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, July 30 in the library’s activity room. Led by Jeff Young of First Financial Equity Corporation, the program is educational only, with no sales of any kind. Some of the topics to be covered include:
• Why it’s generally not beneficial to claim benefits early.
• How to utilize spousal benefits to increase lifetime income.
• The benefits available to ex-spouses and how to claim them.
• Income restrictions when one takes Social Security early.
• How Social Security is taxed.