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Alexis Bechman

Stories by Alexis

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Hospital ER wait times drop, patient count rises

Long emergency room waits and staff struggles with a new electronic record keeping system produced a rough start for Banner Health Systems’ takeover of the Payson Regional Medical Center four months ago.

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Horns of a dilemma

Country club elk fence debated

Plans to put an elk fence around the upscale golf community Chaparral Pines went forward Thursday night despite the plea of several residents who said the fence won’t work if it ends up with gaps where the homeowners association cannot secure the easements.

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Seventh-day Adventist Church donates smoke alarms

Just in time for winter, a local church has made a donation of smoke alarms to the Payson Fire Department.

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Charter plans

School slated to open next August on university site

Builders for the American Leadership Academy’s charter school presented their preliminary design plans to the town Wednesday, saying they hope to open by August of 2016.

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Payson wants another $100,000 administrator

Previous town administrator doubled as finance officer

In the wake of Debra Galbraith’s departure, the Town of Payson is looking into hiring a new finance manager with a starting salary of $73,000 up to $109,000.

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Probation in bomb case

A Phoenix man who strapped a homemade bomb to his vehicle and crashed into a Strawberry ditch was sentenced to probation late last month.

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Cozy crafts and a caring heart

The Heart of the Holidays

Tucked off in a corner room crowded with bowls of fresh popcorn, stacks of colorful cotton material, plastic trays with sparkly beads and the smell of a warming glue gun, the grandma everyone wishes they had sits behind a desk stacked high with projects.

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Police nab burglar

A Flagstaff man faces burglary charges after police say he broke into several storage lockers earlier this week and made off with liquor from one of the units.

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First winter storm blankets Rim Country

Sunny skies to prevail remainder of week

A chilly cold system blew into town Monday and brought with it the first significant snowfall for the Payson area.

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Hiking the Grand Canyon at any age

For Morris and Phyllis Brown, age has never been a limiting factor. When they met 18 years ago, neither doubted it was possible to fall in love again while in their 50s, and when they decided to hike the Grand Canyon together, not once but several times, they knew it could be done with a little patience and persistence.

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Air ambulance company takes flight

Banner shifts contract to PHI Air Medical

Although they are new to the area, many of the medical staff on PHI Air Medical has been flying Rim Country skies for years.

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Mostly medical

Payson Fire calls rarely involve fires

It was another busy year for the Payson Fire Department as it responded to an average of eight incidents a day last fiscal year.

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Early morning Tonto Basin trailer fire kills two dogs

Fire officials believe a space heater started a fire in a Tonto Basin trailer Thursday morning that killed two dogs.

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Hikes, history & harebrained schemes

The Southwest has always been a place for fantastical schemes — some brilliant, some kind of crazy. So visionaries built a railroad across the country, used camels as desert steeds, launched steamboats on the Colorado River and tried to build a railroad through the Grand Canyon.

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Broken pot promises

Few donations despite $2 million in sales

Despite the protest of the mayor, the Payson Town Council last week went ahead and allowed the medical marijuana dispensary to expand its hours of operation.

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Payson council won’t chicken out

You can finally stop hiding those eggs.

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New rule for RV guests spurs debate

Unable to come to an agreement on the use of recreational vehicles to house guests and caretakers, the Payson Town Council last week punted on the issue.

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Payson approves park improvements

Starting sometime later this month, crews will begin ripping out the old soccer field turf at Rumsey Park.

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Weather Service: More snow on Rim today

Monday’s sunny skies today should give way to a winter storm, with several inches of snow on the Mogollon Rim, according to the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

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History's refractions in Jerome, Ariz.

Standing in a funky little kaleidoscope shop perched on a near vertical hilltop in Jerome, it came to me: Jerome is a lot like a kaleidoscope.

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Hellsgate wants ambulances

Insists service would cut wait times for patients

Hellsgate Fire Department wants to start its own ambulance service instead of solely relying on a private company dispatching an ambulance from Payson.

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Details of a ‘multiversity’

But still no word from university

After sending the Forest Service a check for $4.1 million for a 253-acre parcel for a university campus in Payson, Mayor Kenny Evans gave an update on the project Wednesday before a packed house at the monthly Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

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Elk fence brouhaha brewing in country club

A dispute about an elk fence around Chaparral Pines has deeply divided the community as the homeowners association goes forward with plans to install more fencing.

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Not ‘if’ but ‘when’

Homeowners urged to prepare for rain of embers from wildfire

When a forest fire hits Payson it won’t be anything like you expect, said fire officials last week at a Firewise meeting.

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A visit to Williams, Ariz.

With the great road west debunked by an interstate highway in 1978, the town of Williams found itself bypassed by time, languishing in the hot sun — the ruins of a boomtown that went bust. How did a town of 3,000 reinvent itself when it didn’t have the red rocks of Sedona or the attractions of Flagstaff? Well, Williams didn’t have much once the cars were gone and the copper long ago mined. What it did have was history, spunk and one of the greatest natural wonders at its doorstep. A visit to Williams today is an unexpected treat.

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Businesses getting dumped on

After someone dumped a bedroom’s worth of furniture in a shopping center dumpster, a property owner is looking for the community’s help.

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Thieves hit food bank

They came for the cookies and left a mess for volunteers to clean up.

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Gambled on a trial – and lost

Sopeland convicted on fraud charges in ammo case

Turns out, he should have stuck with the plea deal.

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Food drive taking off

Just two weeks ago, the Payson Area Food Drive had less than $20 to help three local food banks with donations collected last year all but dried up.

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Drunk woman battled police

A Payson woman who kicked two officers while resisting arrest while drunk will spend six months in prison and a year on probation, under the terms of her sentencing on Monday.

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‘That was dumb’ says robber

A California man who robbed a Payson convenience store in January pleaded guilty earlier this month to armed robbery.

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Kohl's Ranch – a historic lodge that has it all

Nestled between two towns and surrounded by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest sits the historic Kohl’s Ranch.

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Payson airport has courtesy car for pilots

They sometimes fly hundreds of miles, but once they reach Payson, have no way to get anywhere.

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Something sweet is in the air

A visit to Country Charm in the Swiss Village Shops is a sensory overload. From the sweet smells of chocolate and sugar wafting from the trays of fudge and buckets of candy, to the gifts and decorations including a ceiling billowing with colorful fabric. It is like Willy Wonka’s factory with a female touch.

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Outcast store features models, collectibles

When several co-workers, ahem, the men, at the Roundup heard a shop had opened in Payson selling model kits, they launched into stories of building models as kids — the smell of the glue, applying the decals and the memory of proudly displaying them after hours of work. And for some, then destroying them.

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Payson group works to save community from wildfires

Will it be your house? Maybe your neighbors? The statistics say it is not a question of if a forest fire will hit the Rim Country, but when. Every year, forest fires occur around the state, some right up to Payson’s front door.

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Scrap ammo theft trial underway

While the owners of HPR Ammunition celebrated the announcement of plans to build a $554 million manufacturing plant in Tennessee this week, one owner was taking the stand in a Payson courtroom to testify against a former employee for selling scrap ammunition.

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Payson Police still seeking hotel robber

Police are looking for a man who walked into the Days Inn hotel lobby Monday night and demanded money from the front desk attendant.

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100 years young & still dancing

Dozens of onlookers had tears in their eyes and cellphones in hand to film Myrtle Pyle Warter’s delighted turn across the dance floor Saturday at the Payson Elks Lodge.

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Will Payson ease restrictions on signs?

An ordinance that let’s business owners put temporary portable signs by the street to attract customers could stay in effect another 5.5 years.

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Sexters beware

Parents, teens ignorant of new laws on sex and smartphones

After a three recent sexting arrests, some Payson parents are wondering how they can prevent their child from sending explicit text messages and photographs.

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Pot dispensary seeks longer hours

To better reach patients, Uncle Herbs, the area’s medical marijuana dispensary, wants Payson to let it extend its hours to 9 p.m.

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Domestic violence case nets probation

Couple reconciles after he grabs phone, breaks into parents’ home

Angry that his then ex-girlfriend had taken his vehicle away, a Payson man went into her parents’ home, grabbed her phone away and fled before police arrived.

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La Posada: Masterpiece saved from the wrecking ball

Weekend trip reveals one woman’s bold artistic triumph

Rocking beneath a gold and turquoise stenciled ceiling in front of a warm fire, cocooned by the rumble of trains in the night and the strumming of a guitarist in the lobby, you can easily lose track of your century in Winslow’s La Posada.

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Parking disaster; car jumps curb in Safeway Shopping Center

A woman nearly crashed into Payson Dental Friday afternoon when her vehicle jumped a curb in the Safeway Shopping Center.

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$144,000 man

Town manager salary set, but severance provision dropped

Well he won’t get a six months severance package, but LaRon Garrett will make $144,000 as Payson’s new town manager.

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Firewise event urges homeowners to prepare for disaster

They say it is not a matter of if, but when, a devastating wildfire will blaze through Payson.

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Rape charge filed

Police say Payson man refused to take ‘no’ for an answer

A Payson man is facing sexual assault charges for reportedly having sex with a woman against her will.

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Stylist adds new services to salon

Tracy Bentley is used to the fast-paced world of Valley salons and teaching coloring techniques at hair shows.

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Rescuers report father acted heroically

Rescuers confirmed Thursday that a Mesa father died Monday trying to save his little girl from drowning in Fossil Creek.