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Alexis Bechman

Stories by Alexis

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Pine-Strawberry to resume brush work

Communities rally on brink of frightening fire season

Despite the loss of grant money, Pine-Strawberry will still hold brush pick-ups this year after a community group, residents and the fire department rallied to save the program.

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Doggone dog catcher’s gone

Payson without animal control since August

Payson hasn’t had an animal control officer on duty since August, unleashing complaints about barking and loose dogs all around town.

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Voden’s release conditions not loosened

A judge has denied Mike Voden’s request to loosen his release conditions and let him go shopping three hours a week.

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Time Out names new executive director

Welsheimer draws from her own experience in an abusive relationship

She was only home late three minutes from work when she found her boyfriend had become an enraged, green-eyed beast she had never known.

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Readers playing favorites

Who will be chosen Best of Rim Country?

Who serves up Rim Country’s best Mexican food? Steak? Fish fry?

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Couple, four dogs escape house fire uninjured

A couple and their four dogs escaped uninjured from a Sunday morning house fire.

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Builders back

Payson projects with hundreds of homes in early talking stages

Developers are finally once again showing interest in Payson, with several housing developments now in the very early talking stages.

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Unknown substance mailed to water district

A mystery package mailed to the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Thursday initially alarmed officials until they figured out it was an unknown food substance.

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More flower options, just in time for romance’s big day ...

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Safeway has a new head florist and she brings with her 36 years of experience.

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Business stoked at Payson medical marijuana dispensary

Uncle Herbs’ customers sampling edible products

It’s been six months since northern Gila County’s only medical marijuana dispensary opened and the owners report things are going well, so well they are planning to expand their line of edible products and sell their own in-house pot soon.

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Her life spun out of control

A woman whose life spun out of control after she became entangled in the area’s drug subculture shortly after moving to Payson was sentenced Monday to 6.5 years in prison for drug-related charges.

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Heroin user’s second chance ends with same result

Just two weeks after a judge gave a Payson man a second chance on a drug charge, police arrested him passed out with a stash of drugs.

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Police reports reveal haunting details of Payson killing

Lethal mystery: Self-defense or something else?

Right away, Officer Chris McDonough heard a woman screaming and a dog barking.

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School scare

Man with gun actually visiting probation officer on campus

Officials locked down Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School Tuesday morning when a man with a gun was spotted on the high school campus.

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Coffee shop plans boffo car show

Bring on the chrome — and coffee?

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Court exposes confidential records

The Gila County Superior Court is licking its wounds after learning a citizen uncovered sensitive documents tossed in a recycle bin.

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Man steals $23,000 from his family

Judge imposes 90-day jail sentence, orders restitution

A man that siphoned nearly $25,000 from his family to fuel a drug habit will spend up to 90 days in jail and 36 months on probation while he pays back every dime.

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When your chair is trying to kill you, it’s time to Take a stand

As I stand writing this, my chair sits with its back to me. Swiveled away in silent protest I like to think, upset that I haven’t settled into its comfy embrace for hours.

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Short sentence, long rap sheet

He has ‘unbelievable’ drug history, felonies, but proves a useful witness

A man with eight prior felony convictions and an “unbelievable” history of substance abuse is heading back to a prison cell after a judge sentenced him for two more felonies Monday. Miguel Junior Samarripas, 33, will serve five years in prison for selling a stolen PlayStation and stealing a receiver from Walmart.

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Schools briefly go on lockdown after man seen carrying a gun

Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School were briefly put on lockdown Tuesday morning after a district employee spotted a man walking on campus with a gun.

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Spa offers Scottsdale treatments at Payson prices

Bella Vita soon to add hair and vein removal to services

It’s gone from an antique shop, to a salon and boutique and now a med spa. It appears Chrisy’s Cottage, at 718 N. Beeline Highway, has finally completed its transition from funky chic shop to sophisticated spa under new owner Kacia Maddox.

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Man cleared by jury

One case, two outcomes.

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Bank of America sells its Payson branch

Coming in May there will no longer be a Bank of America in Payson.

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Recreation fees jump as much as 33 percent

Payson hopes to raise money for overdue repairs and maintenance

From roofs that need replacing to broken picnic tables, the town’s parks and recreation department just doesn’t have the money to keep up.

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Library art spurs cute creations

A pencil sketch of a lion, a wooden model of a dinosaur and a clay sculpture of a pig all made starring turns at the Payson Area Advocacy Youth Council’s first-ever art contest Friday, with creations every bit as cute as its artists.

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Payson getting new street signs

State, federal grants come through for more reflective signs

Payson is about to become a little brighter, or at least safer.

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One lucky pooch...

They’re doggone glad the dog’s not gone no more

This is the tale of one lucky pooch. A late Christmas miracle you could say.

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Prosecutor faces panel

Tangles with judges prompt hearing

Gila County’s chief deputy attorney will go before a disciplinary panel in April where he could face disbarment or a lesser punishment if the panel decides he acted unprofessionally in the courtroom.

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Crews snuff out ash fire as region dries

Three days after burning down to embers in a stove, ashes remained hot enough to start a brush fire in Star Valley on Saturday.

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Father pleads to child abuse

Man who injured baby’s skull gets 3.5 years in prison

A man who nearly killed his infant son was sentenced Tues­day to 3.5 years in prison.

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Drug case: A second chance – and a dose of skepticism

Thanks to a voter-approved mandate, a Valley man’s first drug offense drew two years of probation instead of jail time, although he was convicted on multiple counts.

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Pontoon boat snafu: The one that got away

He should have used 2,000-pound test line — because a 72-year-old man Tuesday let the big one get away and he didn’t even know it.

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They’re growing their own

Gila County tops in state for medical marijuana cardholders and growers

Gila County continues to lead the state in medical marijuana cardholders and those authorized to grow, according to recently released data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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Old van, new fire

A man’s $500 gamble went up in flames Thursday afternoon on Highway 87 just outside of Rye.

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Chase closes hwy.

Mile-long rap sheet: 80-mile pursuit

A Winslow man with a mile-long rap sheet led police on roughly an 80-mile chase Friday that ultimately ended in his capture after officers put down not one, but four spike strips.

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Payson Area Food Drive hits cash goal

Cash donations to the Payson Area Food Drive have beat all expectations this year thanks to a number of large contributions from government agencies and families, but food collections have come up short.

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High-speed chase on Highway 87 closes roadway briefly

A high-speed chase has ended north of town.

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Mechanic takes, crushes man’s Lexus

For crushing an acquaintance’s vehicle so he could collect $100, a Payson mechanic will serve 18 months probation.

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Father arrested for allegedly threatening son

For allegedly threatening to hit his son with a gun during an argument about calling in sick for work, police on Jan. 10 arrested a Payson man.

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Payson mulls drop in steep impact fees

A state-mandated study pro­cess could result in a decline in the development impact fees Payson has imposed for years to ensure new development pays the cost of the water, street, parks, police and other costs needed to serve new residents.

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Still loves him

Man gets seven years for putting woman through 24 hours of hell

When she arrived at the hospital, her eyelids were swollen shut after hours of abuse. It was clear to detectives that this was not the result of some random pounding by strangers as she claimed, but something far more sinister.

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Prison for teen sex

Man gets 1.5 years for sleeping with minor

For getting a 13-year-old girl pregnant when he was 18, a Payson man will serve 1.5 years in prison.

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How can Zombies make you live longer?

Cell phone apps can make exercise fun, maybe even terrifying

I was running from zombies the other weekend in the woods just outside Gila Community College, on one of my favorite running trails that it appears only beasts from some post-apocalyptic world know about.

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Flames of controversy

Young fire chief fired as rash of fires rattles residents

Young has suffered through a rash of fires — both structural and in the volunteer fire district boardroom.

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Yogurt shop expected to open in March

A couple from Alaska is brining some of the cold with them — but of the sweet variety.

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We’re gonna all be famous!

Move over Mogollon Monster, things are about to get very weird — and scary — in Rim Country.

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Desperation scam

Man seeks $100 for fake crash, winds up with 3-year prison term

A Payson man will spend three years in prison for attempting to extort $100 from a woman he claimed hit him on his bicycle.

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House fire: Beast that wouldn’t die

Just off the Chaparral Pines hole three green, past a checkered flag waving in the warm afternoon sun Sunday, black charred wood hissed and steamed.

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Report shows slight uptick in building permits

We wish we could say it got better, but the number of building permits issued in 2013 indicates things in construction haven’t turned around yet. Not even close.

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Police search for 24 who fled traffic stop

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for 24 people who ran into the forest south of town Tuesday afternoon and have not been seen since.