Enthusiastic Response Overwhelming

Rattlin' the Rim

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The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction brush pickup program on Monday reached Zone 1 in Pine.

Since the program began in April, workers have collected and dumped at the Buckhead Mesa Landfill, 180 tons of brush, pine needles and leaves taken out of Zones 5, 6, 7 and 8 in Strawberry.

Zone 1 in Pine is the northern residential area between Highway 87 and Pine Creek Canyon Dr. It includes Portals I, II, III and IV and Hidden Pines.

For the pickup, Pine was divided into Zones 1-4. Later this summer, the pickups will continue in Zones 2 through 4.

Originally, May 25 was the final day for homeowners to set out brush in Zone 1.

The program, however, experienced a delay when homeowners responded by cleaning and piling brush, trimmings and pine needles in volumes never before seen.

“Because of the enthusiasm of the homeowners, it’s going to take longer than anticipated to get all of the piles,” Fuel Reduction Committee chairman Mel Palmer said in May. The deadline was continued until the middle of June.

Although, the pickups slowed due to the massive response, workers continued diligently on their zone routes. Several volunteers, including Mike Brandt, Bill Craig, Woody Phillips, Tom Stennerson and Palmer, did a “bag pick” — collecting plastic bags filled with pine needles residents had set out. It was the plastic bags that had slowed the brush truck efforts. The driver had to dismount from the skip loader, empty the bags and then remount.

When the brush truck has been through your neighborhood, don’t put more brush out; it will not be picked up.

In Zone 1 this week and next, the workers and volunteers are sure to encounter a problem that was brought out in the Fuel Reduction Committee’s pamphlet of do’s and don’ts.

It reads, “Several small brush piles and needle piles are more difficult and time consuming to pick up. Work with your neighbors to pile brush and needles in as few piles as possible.”

Despite the request, some homeowners continue to stack brush in several small piles rather than a single large one.

If you are one of those, hustle outdoors and scoop up the piles into one large one.

For more information, call (928) 970-0713.

Dollar General donation?

The announcement that Southwest General Development will be donating $10,000 to Pine Strawberry Elementary School at the grand opening of the proposed Dollar General store in Pine has caused quite a stir.

The biggest question is whether the donation is for real. At press time, the statement had not been verified as coming from the company.

However, Pine School Superintendent Cody Barlow said he had received a call from Beau Woodring of Southwest General Development saying the donation would be made at a grand opening.

There are those in the community lauding the donation, saying the small cash-strapped school is in dire need of the money.

Others argue the gift is a ploy to help quiet the protests about the store being built on the southern end of Pine.

Maureen and Mike Pasitka oppose accepting the donation. saying, “A developer’s ‘ransom’ should not influence a decision to allow this chain store’s operation to smudge our community character.”

Chris Walsh of the Rim Country Business Coalition agrees saying, “Contributing $10,000 to the community would be wonderful. But (it) does not change the negative impacts they would have on the existing business community or character of our community.”

The press release, reportedly from Southwest General Development, has no letterhead or signature, but reads, “What better way than to support the local children and their education.”

Those in favor of building the store say it would create jobs and give Pine and Strawberry residents another place to shop without having to make frequent trips to Payson.

In the shelves

Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library children’s summer movie program began in May and continues with “Axel” on July 10 and “Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure” on July 17. Both begin at 1 p.m.

Refreshments will be served, there is no admission and children should bring their own pillow so as to be more comfortable on the floor. The library’s summer reading program for children, “Fizz, Boom, Read,” wrapped up June 25. Children were given reading certificates and treats.

The program tipped off June 4. By all accounts, the programs were both educational and entertaining.

It is unusual for a small library like Pine’s to be able to afford such a comprehensive summer reading program.

But thanks to memorial contributions in memory of former Library Friend Sherry Simrad, who died Feb. 4, Library Manager Becky Waer was able to bring “Fizz, Boom, Read” to the children of Pine and Strawberry.

July 4 festival

The summer festival season began May 24 with the 34th Annual Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild Spring Show and continues July 4 and 5 with the annual Independence Day Celebration in the Pine Cultural Center. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, July 4 and from 8 am. to 4 p.m. the following day.

“We had 78 crafters (at the May show) and when I checked on them, they all seemed to be pleased with sales,” said Gail Jones of the Arts and Crafts Guild. “The streets and festival had lots of people.”

Jones anticipates attendance for the Independence Day event will be as large, possibly even larger.

Also at the July 4 festival, the Mountain Village Foundation will be serving a $5 pancake breakfast that includes sausage, orange juice and coffee.

It will be served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The breakfasts, which drew praise at the Memorial Day festival, are the major fundraiser for the foundation and will also be served Labor Day weekends.

Old-timers will remember the breakfast was formerly put on by the Pine Strawberry Fire Department, but in the past few years, the foundation has taken it over.

Trail work and lunch

More than a month’s work on the Arizona Trail continues from 8 a.m. to noon, Sunday, June 29 with a Major Work Event.

The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee will provide lunch.

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a continuous, 800-plus mile diverse and scenic trail across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, communities and people.

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