Once again this weekend, our tiny mountain hamlets are sure to morph into cool, high country respites for heat-weary desert dwellers.
Just like last week when hundreds flocked into Pine for the Memorial Day Arts and Crafts Festival, visitors will tomorrow and Sunday head into the land below the Mogollon Rim for the 24th Annual Strawberry Days Festival.
It all takes place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Pine Community Center.
Events include arts and crafts vendors, food and treat sales, flats of fresh strawberries for sale, music by Trouble in Paradise, children’s activities, Dreams Come True Petting Zoo, Kids Kraft Corner in the Cultural Hall and a swap meet that is being hailed as “the biggest yard sale on the mountain.”
The swap meet tips off at 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday at the Windmill Corner Inn in Strawberry.
Karolyn’s Wish plays host to the swap meet and all proceeds from the organization’s booth will benefit the children of Pine and Strawberry.
Those wishing to reserve a space for their yard sale items should call Cindy at (928) 476-5940
There is no admission to the swap meet or the festival in Pine.
Bible school treasure hunt
SonTreasure Island Vacation Bible School is from noon to 3 p.m., June 9 to 13.
It is open to preschool students through those entering sixth grade.
The program will include using treasure maps to dig into adventure and fun. There will be music, games, skits, snacks and Bible stores.
Registration begins at 11:45 a.m. each day in front of the Pine Strawberry School gymnasium. A family night and barbecue is June 12.
Call (928) 476-3553 for more information.
Fuel Reduction benefit June 14
The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee is hosting a benefit from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 14 at the “Bear” restaurant located on Ralls Road south of SR 87 in Strawberry.
The event includes dinner, live music, Pine Strawberry Fire Department engine display, a raffle and a silent auction of works from local professional artists.
The dinner will include barbecued ribs and the traditional sides along with a vegan chili.
Donations of $20 per person are requested.
The idea of hosting a benefit was first raised by Chuck and Barbara Casey (aka Trouble in Paradise) at a committee meeting last spring.
Fuel Reduction Committee Chairman Melvin Palmer credited the husband and wife musical team for helping out, “Thanks to people like Chuck and Barbara and Lisa at the Bear restaurant seeing the need and stepping forward we will be able to complete our mission (of reducing potential forest fire fuels in the two towns)”
Palmer also hinted, there could be even more help coming soon, “We have been approached by another musician who would also like to help us and do another fundraiser down the road.
“We can use all the help we can get.”
All proceeds from the benefit will be used to fund the 2014 brush pickup project ongoing in Pine and Strawberry.
Palmer says more money is needed because, “We didn’t raise as much money as we anticipated with our mail outs.”
The large amount of brush that is being picked up is also contributing to increased costs.
“There are lots and lots of brush piles and this is the good thing, lot cleanup is what we wanted to happen” Palmer said. “But it will take longer and cost more.”
Palmer was told last week by two employees of the pickup effort that they had taken 144 tons of brush to the county landfill where it will be burned.
Because the pickup is running behind schedule, organizers just last week finished the area north of Fossil Creek in Strawberry, Palmer is asking homeowners to “please be patient, they will get to you.”
Those who cannot attend the upcoming benefit may send tax-deductible donations to: Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction, P.O. Box 67, Pine, AZ 85544.
Tammy Stevens won the Library Friends basket raffle that took place on Memorial Day weekend. The raffle raised $253 for the library.
Also on Memorial Day, the Library Friends hosted a book sale that raised $1,757.75.
It is fundraising efforts like those sponsored by the Library Friends and others hosted by library employees and volunteers, such as the holiday See’s Candy sales, that help keep our Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library among of the finest in small-town Arizona.
Movies and more movies
The good news for the children who visit the library is that manager Becky Waer has scheduled three outstanding movies for the upcoming “Summer Vacation Movie Madness” program.
On June 12, “A Tiger’s Tail” will be shown and on June 18, “Abner, the Invisible Dog” is on the agenda.
“Ernest and Celestine” will be shown June 26.
All three movies begin at 1 p.m.
“Ernest and Celestine” was an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature.
Refreshments will be served, there is no admission and children should bring their own pillow so as to be comfortable on the floor.
Call (928) 476-3678 for more information.
PSWID board hosts first meeting
The newly elected Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District board members have been elected, signed oaths of office and, last evening, June 5, held their first meeting.
During it, the members elected new officers and discussed water rates, the budget, repairs on one of the district’s water tanks, access to public records and meeting schedules.
New board members include Larry Bagshaw, Rus Brock, Richard James, Trent McNeeley, Paul Randall, Don Smith and Tom Weeks.
There are those water users who admit they were a bit surprised that Sam Schwalm was not one of those elected because he basically was an incumbent having served on the previous board that had five members resign, four of whom were facing recall.
During his tenure as a spokesman for Water for Pine Strawberry, Sam ruffled a lot of feathers and that probably contributed to him not being elected.
It’s also common knowledge that prior to the election there was a concerted campaign going on urging residents to not vote for him.
As a former Payson Roundup PSWID beat reporter, I sometimes interviewed Sam and always found him cordial, completely honest and very informed.
Over the years, Sam suffered indignities from some former board members who shrugged him off and on occasion publicly threatened to sue him. During one heated board meeting, a disgruntled member threatened Sam with physical violence.
Former PSWID board president Bill Haney once told me about Sam, “He and I will never see eye to eye, but I respect him.”
Respect is often the greatest acknowledgement a person can receive.
I met and talked with most of the newly elected members during an April “Meet the Candidates” event. Some I knew previously and one, Trent McNeeley, was a student in my math class during my teaching years in the Payson school district.
All the new members appear to have impressive credentials for serving on a domestic water board and don’t seem to have hidden agendas, as I’ve heard often. They also project a genuine interest in doing what’s best for Pine Strawberry water users.
Godspeed to them.
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