About 1,500 people attend Electric Light Parade
For some reason, the night of Payson’s annual Electric Light Parade seems the coldest of the year — and this Saturday, Dec. 7 did not disappoint.
Principals Rob Varner, Will Dunman and Asa Hall met with many parents in the past month to hammer out ways to relieve overcrowding at Payson Elementary School.
118% boost won’t upgrade system, increase supply
Payson Water Company’s customers may soon be paying twice as much for water — but they’ll still likely face the frustrations of water rationing and a ramshackle system.
School district buys out $58,000 contract; seeking interim chief starting Jan. 1st
Payson Unified School District (PUSD) will spend $58,000 to buy out Superintendent Ron Hitchcock’s contract and seek an interim superintendent to take over by Jan. 1.
The breathtaking beauty of Rim Country goes on for miles ... too bad it lacks easy access.
Wednesday storm should bring rain, snow, frigid temperatures
After a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, Rim Country needs to brace for wet, cold, winter weather.
How things went wrong for the school superintendent and board
The end of any relationship causes pain, confusion and heartache, but it’s no good staying together “just for the kids.”
Rim Country celebrates the holidays
Seems all of Rim Country has the holiday spirit — and not for just a couple of days, but for the rest of the year.
No need to eat alone this Thanksgiving — public dinners are happening all over Rim Country.
Ah! The holidays. What makes them more memorable than sitting around the kitchen with a gingerbread house kit, a small child, frosting, candies and ... well ... a mess.
My earliest memories are of stories — they came flooding back to me during the Tellabration in Pine this past weekend as master storytellers enthralled 100 delighted listeners at the Pine Community Center.
GCC’s gamble on tuition cuts seemingly paying off
After the Gila Community College (GCC) board sharply lowered tuition and reinstated free classes for seniors, everyone held their breath to see if the college would make it.
District hopes to renew grant to boost graduation rate, scores
“Never is (education) all about academics,” said Kristi Ford, GEAR UP Grant coordinator and teacher. “It’s children first, subjects second.”
Kristi Ford’s voice cracked and she held back tears as she talked to Academic Decathlon students, a program funded by the Gear Up grant, on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Judy Smith: Volunteer of the Year
Judy Smith thought she knew who was going to win the Volunteer of the Year award from the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, but she was proved wrong.
Teachers put equipment to good use
On a Tuesday evening after school, the Payson High School baseball field crawled with students, their parents, three teachers and lots of telescopes in all shapes and sizes.
No one leaves empty-handed from gem and mineral show
The Payson Rimstones’ Annual Gem and Mineral Show promises to educate and entertain. Better yet, guests will probably go home with something.
Payson High School (PHS) Principal Brian Mabb has two goals for the high school and its students: 1) Inspire students to stay in Payson to work, live and raise families. 2) Create a school the community can proudly support.
Less than a year after selling Frontier Elementary School, the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) has a problem — too many kids and not enough classrooms for the elementary grades.
PHS students deliver goosebump-producing performance at band festival in Gilbert
As the sun set, the Payson High School (PHS) Marching Band settled into position on Williams Field in Gilbert during the Nov. 2 ABODA State Marching Band Festival.
Longtime Payson seaman recalls ‘Day of Infamy’
Three generations of 30-year Payson resident Robert “Bo” Bochansky’s family served in the Navy — their service spanning from World War I to Vietnam.
Hitchcock launches changes, but quits after just 18 months
Barely 18 months into his tenure, Payson Unified School District (PUSD) Superintendent Ron Hitchcock will seek approval to resign from the school board tonight at its Nov. 12 meeting.
One of the holiday season’s tastiest events is just around the corner — Tamales for Toys.
The Rim Country Middle School library buzzed with nervous twitters and fidgeting; spread out in a circle, tri-fold cardboard displays showed Christina Cleary’s sixth grade science class projects on weather topics from tornados to lightning.
But need for help still exists
The number of homeless and displaced students in Payson has plunged by 47 percent from a high of 589 in 2012-13 to 313 this year — a 47 percent drop.
Despite numerous protests from Payson Water Company customers about a proposed jump in water rates, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) board gave its blessing to the Payson Water Company to hook up Mesa del Caballo customers to the Town of Payson water system on Oct. 25.
District gains 27 students, reversing four-year trend
The anticipated 40th day of instruction attendance numbers brought good news to the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) — the district had the first increase in enrollment in four years.
School department chairs will once again get stipends of $500 a year, now that the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board has adopted new job descriptions and salary schedules.
Volunteer coordinators bring in community members to support students, school staff
Gerald Rutz came to the Oct. 25 Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board meeting a bit disappointed. He had written a letter to the superintendent’s office to offer tutoring in Calculus, but never received a response. “I am disappointed that in five weeks I have not heard anything,” he said. “It means to me you don’t care enough to take care of the kids. (But) I’m still willing to offer help.”
Faced with a liability insurance crisis, the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board on Oct. 28 voted to allow only district students and employees to use the ropes course installed with a federal grant.
There’s something about Halloween. Maybe it’s donning a persona to go along with a costume. Or it might be the joy of watching kids having fun. But then again, perhaps it’s just the mounds of candy.
Director hopes PHS production will impress state judges
Victor Hugo’s novel of a complicated love affair, suffering and redemption spans 1,500 pages, but the Payson High School thespians pulled it off with aplomb.
The Agriculture Department at Payson High School (PHS) will throw open its doors on Saturday to the community. New agriculture teacher David Rutherford hopes to help Rim Country residents who dabble in agriculture with 18 different speakers on topics from worms and landscaping to chickens and welding.
Still short a board member and now coping with the impact of a big tuition cut, the Gila Community College (GCC) board at its last meeting decided to join the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) and increase payments to Payson for janitorial services.
Parents worried students’ college plans stunted by lack of classes
The Payson school district’s decision not to offer key advanced classes for college-bound students could keep many from getting into top colleges. This year the district cut several advanced placement classes and its calculus class, even though it used earmarked voter-approved budget-override money to maintain advanced classes. Money designated totaled $60,000 last year and $80,000 this year, although the number of advanced classes declined this year.
Mario Belvedere proudly stands in the middle of his living room, arm thrown up to point at a striking piece of art, one of many that cover the two-story floor to ceiling wall.
The Payson High School Marching Band rallied from an early-season setback this weekend at the Ironwood Ridge Invitational in Tucson and scored enough points to march in the State Marching Band Festival on Nov. 2.
Request provokes debate about coaches sharing stipends
The Payson Unified School District (PUSD) board decided to change the salary schedule for coaches to allow a coach to use part of his salary to pay assistant coaches, while also making sure no more than five teachers miss school to coach at one time.
The Payson Unified School (PUSD) Board passed the 2014-15 school calendar with four members voting yes and one voting no, at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
“How’d that feel?” asked Payson High School (PHS) Marching Band Director Sergio Beraun to the purple and black uniformed band members surrounding him. “Awesome!” they all yelled in unison huge smiles on their faces.
The air sends a chill right through hiking boots, but there is still stuff to do on the Mogollon Rim.
Old school gym was community gathering place
When historian Patricia (Gail) Hearne heard former Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O’Brien planned on saving the old Julia Randall Rock Building, she was ecstatic.
Globe campus up 15 percent, 6.3 percent increase elsewhere
The Pueblo campus of Gila Community College (GCC) located in Globe reports a 15 percent increase in enrollment since the board voted to lower tuition rates and reinstate free senior tuition at its July meeting.
Hellsgate FD makes special effort to promote fire safety
Big kids. Little kids. Running kids. Laughing kids. Kids, kids, kids took over the Hellsgate Fire Station during its open house to celebrate fire prevention month.
Payson Education Center’s new science teacher — longtime Payson Unified School District science teacher Barbara Quinlan — loves the kids in her STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) club.
The dancers in a perfect row raised their hand clutching cloth leaves, turning the dancer in a green leotard in front into a cross between a tree and a multi-armed nymph.
Sandy Litkenhaus thought she would enjoy a lovely hike this past weekend on the trails at the end of Phoenix Street, until she hit a patch of loose gravel. “My boots did not have enough traction,” she said.
That strong wind filling Rim Country skies with clouds today will likely bring rain tonight or tomorrow, said Brian Klimowski from the National Weather Service (NOAA).
Michael Baker, the executive of the Volunteers of Outdoor Arizona (VOAZ) organization, stood behind the shivering volunteers in the early morning air at the base of Horton Creek Trail on a Saturday morning at the end of September.
Meals on Wheels offers far more than food for clients
Once he built roads and bridges across Saudi Arabia, now he can’t walk without a cane and not even glasses can restore his failing eyesight.