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Alexis Bechman

Stories by Alexis

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Ceremony recalls firefighters’ deaths in 1990 Dude Fire

On Thursday 25 years ago, six wildland firefighters died battling the Dude Fire north of Payson near Bonita Creek Estates.

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Payson’s violent crime rate plunges 13 percent

Calls for service rise, arrests drop

The number of violent crimes in Payson dropped 13 percent last year, despite a small increase in calls to the police.

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McAnerny named Officer of the Year

For the second time, Payson Police officer Michael McAnerny was named Northern Gila County Officer of the Year by the Rim Country Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

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Tim Wright named presiding Gila County Superior Court judge

Although he only took office in January, the Arizona Supreme Court Thursday appointed Tim Wright presiding judge of Gila County. 

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Officers storm house, probe odd assault

It was a busy day of calls on Wednesday, June 24, for the Payson Police Department, handling a suicidal subject and reports of a domestic situation at the Sawmill Crossing parking lot.

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Three airlifted to Valley after highway crash

Three people were flown to Valley hospitals Tuesday after their vehicle rolled south of Sunflower.

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Hardware Heroes

Home Depot co-worker saved

A group of Home Depot supervisors saved a fellow worker’s life Wednesday when his heart stopped beating as he worked in the painting department.

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Family affair

Son joins Art Lloyd’s law firm

On the heels of another multi-million-dollar civil win for a client, Payson’s Lloyd Law Group has also recently added a new lawyer to the firm.

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KRIM radio back on the air

Non-commercial rock station off airwaves for three weeks after falling out with KMOG

After a three-week hiatus, KRIM Radio crackled back to life on the Rim Country airwaves Tuesday, running out of a new station with a new outlook.

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Tribe boosts Pine fire protection

What started as a way for concerned residents to protect their beloved hamlet has spawned one of northern Arizona’s most popular mountain bike races.

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Gone to pot: Dispensary faces lawsuits

A judge has appointed a Valley receivership to run Payson’s Uncle Herbs medical marijuana dispensary after a falling out among the owners led to lawsuits.

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Temperatures rise, fires flare, limits tighten

As a large plume of smoke hung over Payson Wednesday from a fire north of Strawberry, wildland and local firefighters headed south to quickly smother a brush fire near Rye in triple-digit temperatures.

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Brush fire near Rye under control

A brush fire that started around noon half a mile south of Rye in the Rye Creek drainage is under control.

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Payson ponders hefty increase in 2015-16 town budget

The Payson Town Council could move to adopt the 2016 fiscal year budget Thursday, which includes a number of capital improvements, including new softball field lights and turf on the soccer field.

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Bad choices spur difficult rescues

Volunteers struggle to save cliff jumpers and flip-flop wearers

Volunteers performed another round of rescues at Fossil Creek this weekend as water goers continued to injure themselves, get lost and hike unprepared.

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Death at Tonto Bridge

A 69-year-old Valley man died after falling on a trail at the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park Saturday.

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Amiable fire burning atop Rim

The Forest Service continues to let a lightning-caused fire burn north of Strawberry, saying it is helping restore forest health.

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Rash of rescues in Fossil Creek taxes volunteers

Volunteer rescuers Monday hiked into Fossil Creek three different times to rescue three groups of people, some without water, others with badly blistered feet and some missing shoes altogether. All those who needed rescue had badly misjudged the length and difficulty of the trail.

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Ammunition theft case set for trial

A Payson man is slated to stand trial for ammunition theft in September.

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Lack of ATV helmet proves fatal

A Valley man was killed recently after rolling his side-by-side off-highway vehicle east of Payson on the Control Road.

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Man dies in Highway 87 rollover

A Valley engineer died Saturday when his vehicle rolled on southbound State Route 87.

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Molester’s deal blasted by judge

A man that admitted to repeatedly molesting a 13-year-old Payson girl received the “deal of the century” Monday when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to the judge.

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Two hospitalized after near head-on collision

A near head-on collision on State Route 260 Monday afternoon sent both drivers to a Valley hospital where both remain in critical, but stable condition.

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Crews work to contain Blevens Fire

A brush fire that quickly worked its way along the edge of State Route 188 and back into several steep canyons southeast of Roosevelt Lake Wednesday is under control.

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Chamber of Commerce CEO quits abruptly

After almost a year on the job, Ana Gutowski resigned as CEO of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

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Voden: ‘He had every intention of taking my gun away’

Murder trial testimony shows wife of victim had clear view of confrontation

As Randy and Brenda Burnett moved in to their new rental home off East Rancho Road in the fall of 2013, Michael Voden watched from his kitchen window.

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Brush fire east of Roosevelt Lake of SR 188

Update at 10:30 a.m. Thursday: The Blevens Fire is still 75 acres, but crews now have it at 10 percent containment. Resources on scene include three engines and two hotshot crews. Crews stopped the forward spread on the fire last night, and will spend Thursday constructing and improving fire lines.

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Fatal moment

Voden murder trial starts with gripping testimony

As Brenda Burnett bent down to grab one of her dog’s toys she heard her husband of 15 years, Randy Burnett, calmly tell her something she had never heard him say before — “Brenda, if you should ever listen to me, listen to me this time. Get back into the house.”

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Payson settles suit for $50,000

Man pleads to witness assault before payout

After a lengthy civil battle, the Town of Payson recently reached a $50,000 settlement with a 27-year-old man who said Payson police officers needlessly beat him up during a 2011 arrest.

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Voden trial begins

A rage fueled senseless murder or a man protecting himself from a larger neighbor on the cusp of an attack? In opening arguments Thursday, lawyers presented two very different reasons why Michael Voden shot and killed his neighbor outside his kitchen door in the fall of 2013.

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Payson turns on the charm

Despite the early hour and chilly conditions, Payson residents came out in droves Friday for a Valley news show, which held a special six-hour broadcast from Green Valley Park.

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Headed now for prison

Drunk driver blows ‘greatest’ plea deal

A drunk driver that slammed into a Gisela couple’s yard and nearly killed their dogs, saw his path of destruction end Monday when a judge sentenced him to a year in prison, five years of probation and another 60 days in jail.

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Voden trial slated for this Wednesday

After repeated delays, a Payson man accused of killing his new neighbor is set to begin Wednesday in Globe.

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New gallery in Pine

The newest art gallery in Pine brings something warm and welcoming to town. Maybe it is the smell of varnish, acrylic oils and fresh-sawn wood that permeates the space or the art, tucked into several rooms in the charming gallery, most from either friends or family of the owners, Ed and Joanie Farnum.

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Tractor Supply Company building under construction

Construction is underway for a 21,930-square-foot Tractor Supply Company store at State Route 260 and Manzanita Drive, next to Tiny’s Restaurant.

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C.C. Cragin pipeline work starts in June

Construction work to bring C.C. Cragin (formerly Blue Ridge) Reservoir water to Payson by 2018 is well underway and residents next month will soon see those efforts as crews begin work on the Beeline Highway.

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Seven arrested on drug charges, one with illegal firearm

After a yearlong investigation, officers arrested seven people Wednesday on various drug charges.

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Police pensions payments jump

It is the “big ugly” in Payson’s budget next fiscal year: the town’s contribution to police pensions.

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Crash snarls traffic

Two taken to hospital with minor injuries

Two people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a near head-on collision Tuesday at East Bonita Street and North Beeline Highway.

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Streets budget includes North Manzanita

Plans are underway to finish North Manzanita Street after a developer recently installed a roundabout and an extension of East Malibu Drive.

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Show Payson pride

Valley TV show filming Friday

Come out and show your Payson pride Friday as a Valley television station hosts a special broadcast from Green Valley Park.

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Search of drug house yields arrests

A car accident last week spurred a massive drug investigation and seven arrests.

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Heroin overdose

A 29-year-old man survived a heroin overdose last week, but now both he and his wife face drug charges.

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Cheering on Special Olympics athletes with police in lead

With every honk, wave and smile from passing motorists, a group of 80 Special Olympic athletes gleamed with pride Wednesday morning as they walked along the Beeline Highway, a trail of fire trucks and police cruisers following behind decorated with balloons and streamers.

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Deputies bust pot grower with too many plants

On Wednesday, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office uncovered a large marijuana grow operation in Tonto Basin.

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Prosecutor’s plea

Denies sexual harassment

Gila County Attorney Bradley Beauchamp said he had a close friendship with a woman prosecutor who worked for him, but staunchly denied he sexually harassed her in a reply to the charges she filed after he fired her late last year.

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Relay for Life this Saturday

It was the walk that almost wasn’t.

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Heroin death

Tragic tale of brothers with a shared addiction

Payson’s heroin scourge has claimed another victim.

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Torch run trots through town Wednesday

Help run local law enforcement out of town Wednesday during the annual Special Olympics Torch Run on the Beeline Highway.

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ATV rollover mars charity event

For the first time in its seven-year history, the annual Lorraine Cline Poker Run had a mishap.