The Diamondbacks are off to the worst start in the history of the professional baseball team, but that didn’t stop about 40 Pine-Strawberry School students and their chaperones, including principal-superintendent Cody Barlow, from cheering the team on during a home game last week.
“The game was a blast and the Diamondbacks actually beat the Phillies,” said Barlow.
The trip to Chase Field in Phoenix was a reward to the students for “showing up to school on time, trying their hardest on the (AIMS) test and staying out of trouble during testing,” Barlow said.
The D-backs organization donated the tickets to the school.
Thanks to a successful fundraising campaign at the school and in the two towns, the Buffalo archery team appears well on its way to the National Archery in School championships next week in Louisville, Ky.
“Archery is sitting pretty well as far as funds to attend nationals thanks to the generosity and support of the fine people in our community,” said Barlow.
“The five archers and coaches travel next Wednesday (May 7) and return the same Saturday (May 10).”
In track and field, 12 of the 19 team members qualified to travel today, May 2, to Prescott for the league championship finals.
The Lady Buff softball team won its league tournament opener on Friday (April 25) vs. Mayer, but the following day’s game was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.
The team remains in contention for a third place finish.
Most Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District customers have received board member election ballots that were mailed out April 24.
While the actual election is not until May 20, the ballots mailed are part of the Gila County Recorder’s “Early Voting” system and will be counted on electronic equipment.
Which means any unnecessary marks or erasures may cause the ballot to be misread or rejected.
Voters must carefully fill out the oval in front of the candidates’ name they are voting for with black or dark blue ink.
Cast votes for seven of the eight PSWID board candidates. Write-ins are acceptable.
All ballots must then be signed, dated and a phone number provided.
Then re-fold the ballot exactly as received, insert it in the ballot return envelope and mail it to the county recorder. No postage is necessary.
Ballots can also be hand delivered to the recorder’s Payson office at 201 W. Frontier St.
Ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day will not be counted. Candidates include Russell Brock, Richard James, Trent McNeeley, Paul Randall, Sam Schwalm, Don Smith, Tom Weeks and Lawrence Bagshaw.
Ric Hawthorne of the “Moving PSWID Forward” activist group believes all eight candidates are qualified.
“All running have a firm grasp of the issues the PSWID currently faces and are looking forward to working with the community at large to ensure that we have a community water district we can all believe in,” Hawthorne said. “These candidates come from all areas of Pine and Strawberry, and represent both the full- and part-time residents.”
The election marks the culmination of a recall effort that began last year against four PSWID board members.
In the heat of the recall last fall, five board members eventually resigned leaving only two members on the board.
Because there could be no quorum, the board was disbanded and the Gila County Board of Supervisors assumed control of PSWID.
In March, the Board of Supervisors appointed a citizen committee to oversee an upcoming audit and the creation of next year’s budget.
The committee was comprised of the current board candidates.
This weekend the sometimes sleepy hamlets of Pine and Strawberry morph into hot beds of activity with a May Day celebration, Cinco de Mayo salsa contest and the third annual Trails Day on the agenda.
The May Day celebration will be held near the senior center at midtown, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, May 3, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the following day.
It includes a craft fair, antique tractor show, games and food and drink specials.
The judging of the salsa contest, which includes mariachi music and a tamale sale, will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The fee to taste the salsa is $4.
Trails Day activities are set for Sunday, May 4, at the Pine Trailhead.
It all kicks off at 8 a.m. with about a two-hour bird watching hike in Pine Creek Canyon near Camp LoMia. Hikers should meet at the Pine Trailhead.
Participants should bring their own binoculars, hiking shoes and water.
The hike is graded as low in difficulty.
From 9 a.m. until noon, Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee members will conduct a hands-on trail building class.
Class participants should bring gloves.
Also at 9 a.m., Joyce Bittner and her llamas from The Ranch at Fossil Creek will lead a 3-mile hike that should wrap up about 11 a.m.
The hike will be over some of Mogollon Rim’s most scenic mountain trails with the llamas carrying packs and equipment.
At 10 a.m. Tom Stennerson of the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona will lead a 12-mile, round-trip bike ride over the Bearfoot Trail.
At 10:45 a.m., an about 3.5-mile round-trip hike to the Bradshaw Meadow Watershed Project area will begin.
The highlights are the varied terrain — rocky, meadows, ponds, forest and views of Pine.
The trail is rated moderate to high in difficulty.
Throughout the day, the Arizona Trails Association, U.S. Forest Service, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Arizona Site Stewards and the Pine Strawberry Fire Department will host trailhead activities including information and demonstrations.
A visit from renowned hiker Sirena DeFault is sure to be another highlight of the Trails Day agenda.
DeFault is in the midst of an 800-mile hike across Arizona to promote the Arizona National Scenic Trail, the gateway communities and the new official guidebook.
She kicked off the trek March 14 on the Mexico border and is expected to reach Utah on May 31.
“She will be coming off the trail and into Pine on May 3,” said Trails Day director Maureen Walsh.
This weekend’s activities mark the onset of the summer festival season that will include celebrations on Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Peter Pan to soar
Also unfolding this week, the play Peter Pan is being staged by Pine-Strawberry School students. The first performance is at 6:30 p.m. today and the second at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday. May 3. Both are at the school.
Student actors have been practicing the play for three months under the supervision of stage director Patti Lawrence and musical director Ashley Kindrick. The public is invited.
Library to host summer learning sessions
Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library Manager Becky Waer is hoping parents encourage their children to attend the upcoming “Fizz, Boom, Read” series that she touts as informative, educational and downright entertaining.
The program consists of four exciting reading events to be held during June in the library.
The first program, 10:30 a.m. to noon on June 4, is Squirrely Shirley Discovers the Magic of Science with Puppets.
Following it, summer reading packets will be explained and distributed to the children.
The second program, 10:30 a.m. to noon on June 11, is Lovely Buttons, Through the Art of Clowning!
Lovely Buttons is actually Phoenix clown Julie Varholdt who travels the state bringing unique and fun programs to libraries and schools.
From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 21, Didgeridoo Down Under will unfold. It is described as an Australian-themed show that combines music, culture and science.
The final program, 10:30 a.m. to noon on June 25, is Celebrate the Love of Reading by learning to make slime.
Following the programs reading certificates to attendees will be awarded and “delicious treats provided,” said Waer.
The community is invited to all the programs, but children will have priority seating.
For more information, call the library at (928) 476-3678.