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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Pepper spray, threat riles school

On Friday, May 15, Payson Unified School District illustrated that its text alerts to parents work great.

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Forest Service takes aim at trash

After each major summer holiday, the Tonto Forest around Payson looks like a dump.

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JRE revamps food service – wins national recognition for district

Julia Randall Elementary students with help from staff, took matters into their own hands requesting a healthier school to win recognition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Arizona Department of Education through the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge.

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Payson seniors stage sorrowful plays

In their final shows as Payson High School thespians, this year’s graduating seniors ambitiously produced five shows.

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Picking the tastiest plants

The Healthy Foodie

It’s nearly June 1 and my garden beckons.

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Snow in May! El Niño may yield wet year

Pine wakes to snowscape

Pine residents and musical directors Daria Mason and Mike Buskirk woke up to find snow on the ground Saturday, May 16.

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These kids rock!

Clutching their egg cartons, nine groups of excited third-grade students followed their teacher to different stations to learn about minerals, igneous, sedentary and metamorphic rocks from the Payson Rimstones Rock Club.

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Art night at JRE

For the first time, Julia Randall Elementary had a Fine Arts Night dedicated to all the fifth-grade artists.

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Angel donor gives students the gift of discovery

What happens when an angel donor, Biosphere 2, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, middle school students and the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant mix it up?

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Pipes burst

Main Street flooded

Aging Payson water mains burst this week, flooding Main Street.

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‘Angels who have earned their wings’

Nursing students celebrate

An old saying describes nurses: “Angels are nurses who have earned their wings.”

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Despite rain, fire season looms

Never mind the recent rains — forest conditions now bear a dismaying resemblance to the fire seasons that included the massive Wallow and the Rodeo-Chediski fires, according to Payson Ranger District fuels specialist William Dudley.

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Maybe kids are right – but I’ll never tell them

The Healthy Foodie

Mothers’ Day gets me to reminiscing about the days when my kids were babies and I freaked out about everything — including my obsessive efforts to protect them from germs. I vacuumed every day, determined to keep toxins at bay as they crawled around on the floor.

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‘Broadway’ concert a smashing hit

The Payson Choral Society’s “On Broadway” show featured songs from favorite shows, soloists, special acts and the joyful choir that delivered a foot-stomping, hand-clapping concert.

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Mysterious jet aborts landing at Payson Airport

The roar of a jet engine Tuesday rattled residents and sent many scrambling outside to scan the skies to identify the mysterious sound.

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Payson FBLA students move on to nationals

After competing against a slew of state Future Business Leaders of America students in Tucson, four Payson students will move onto National Leadership Conference this summer in Chicago.

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Damp weather delays fire season

It’s May. It’s wet. It’s cold.

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Crazy about color

Runners galore, some even in tutus, came out to support the Payson High School Adventure Club running a 5-kilometer race at the same time getting doused in multiple puffs of color.

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Saxophone show delights Payson audience

In a treat for the ears, eyes and mind, the Tonto Community Concert Association presented SAXational, by Rob Verdi for its last concert of the season.

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Earth Day brings high school and elementary students together

What could be more perfect on Earth Day than a lesson in how plants grow?

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New principals hired

But teachers leaving in droves

Payson Unified School District Superintendent Greg Wyman now has his full leadership team in place for the upcoming school year, although teachers continue to leave the district.

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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.

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Compassion on a dirt road

This year, the success of the Lorraine Cline Memorial Poker Run exceeded all expectations — even the weather chipped in.

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Tutors for homeless kids

The McKinney-Vento grant position filled by Joe Sanchez to help homeless students graduate and move onto post-secondary education will receive a boost from paid tutors.

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Puttering along with Bird Men of Pine

Bird whisperers need help for migratory bird count

As soon as Rick Heffernon and Brian Ison drove onto the Girl Scout campgrounds in Pine, all five senses came alive.

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Ceremony honors far-reaching service of four Payson vets

Service included Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division, Guam

Payson Hospice Compassus Marketing Director Becky Friend stood in the background as former Marine Joe Juharos officiated a ceremony recognizing four veterans at the Frontier House in mid-April.

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Use the color wheel of veggies and fruits to improve complexion

The Healthy Foodie

My daughter went to prom last night.

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Corralling corporations

Constitutional change advocated to stop dark money

Across the nation, U.S. citizens have struggled to find a response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that declared corporations have the same right as people to participate in elections — including secretly spending money to elect candidates.

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Calculus Camp is secret weapon to help students do better on AP exam

Payson High School math teacher David Meidinger has a secret weapon to help his kids do better on their AP Calculus exam — Calculus Camp.

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Schools to get technology upgrades

For years, students and staff of Payson Unified School District have made jokes about the outmoded and painfully slow computers and Internet access.

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Drug conviction complicates job search, recovery

Move afoot to remove felony check box

A job means security to a family.

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Texting confusion

Schools crisis system flawed

The Jan. 20 Payson Unified School District lockdown exposed a flaw in the district’s communication system the tech department has now fixed — the ability to send out text messages to parents.

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Rim Country students show a surprising flair for science

Rural regional schools hold their own against Valley competitors

Maybe it’s because we have more streams running through Rim Country than anywhere else in Arizona or maybe it’s because the skies are so clear that every star glows or maybe it’s all the ranches, but this year, Rim Country students flexed their scientific muscles to triumph over many Valley schools in the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair.

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Pepper – it's everywhere

The Healthy Foodie

The lowly pepper has inspired explorers, dominated economies, delighted gourmands, fascinated folk healers, bewitched the Romans, provoked Marco Polo to overstatement, boosted the economy of Vietnam — and wound up on every dinner table in North America.

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GCC dean shows off artistic side

Show up at the Dimi Espresso for a beverage and stay to enjoy the art on the walls done by Gila Community College Dean Pam Butterfield.

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Chance article reunites World War Two postcard with owner

A chance write-up in an article written by publisher John Naughton in 2010 connected a World War II vet with a postcard he wrote to a friend as he crossed the country to his training base in 1942.

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Gila Community College considers tax hike

Gila Community College’s 2015-16 budget looks better than last year, but the senior dean wants the board to vote to raise the property tax rate to the legal limit to protect programs.

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Take a hike — on a Pine-Strawberry trail

Spring is in the air and it’s time to shake the cabin dust off and take a hike.

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Exodus of principals, teachers continues

At the April 13 Payson Unified School District board meeting, more names appeared on the agenda as separations from the district.

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Modern success with an ancient technique

Local artist C J Lukacsik’s voice still carries the essence of her native Taiwan, although she’s lived in the United States for most of her life.

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Tarzan swings into action

“Tarzan,” the Payson High School 2015 musical, brought laughs, tears and fun to audiences during its three-night run.

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Community spirit swells during annual fundraiser planning

Poker run planners promise more fun, hope for no snow

In typical Tonto Basin style, the Lorraine Cline Memorial Poker Run Committee met at The Butcher Hook. But not in the restaurant — in the bar.

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Schools cut budget

State forces $600,000 reduction

So, the official state budget has been signed and the cuts are in: Payson Unified School District has to peel away services to cover a $600,000 loss, which amounts to 4 percent of its operating budget.

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History proves I’m not alone in my love affair with fad diets

The Healthy Foodie

It only makes sense that I obsess on fad diets as a food columnist — I also have way too much personal experience, having been on one or another since adolescence.

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Ruins with a view

Archaeological Society labors to save traces of lost world in Goat Camp Ruins

An overwhelmed developer.

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Pickleball poses a pretty pickle for Payson Parks

Passionate pickle people prod Payson to pour slab

They meet three days a week on the Rumsey Park tennis courts to play what’s been called the fastest growing sport — pickleball.

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Bridges offers addicts way out

Narcotics can render you ‘homeless and destitute’

Daren Fry has tattoos on his fingers and hands, but wears a dress shirt and tie.

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La Posada chef invokes spices to bewitch taste buds

Venison, quail, Hopi stews, savory elk create menu with a joyful sense of place

Little children make mud pie feasts creating magical memories for the imaginary guests of their imaginary castles.

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Schools reach out to parents

Payson district on Saturday will offer free sessions aimed at parents

Last fall, the Payson district launched a program to bring parents, grandparents, guardians and interested community members into the school to educate and address concerns and questions.

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Surprising goodness of eggs

The Healthy Foodie

So Easter Sunday has passed, and I have basketfuls of leftover brightly dyed and colored Easter eggs. Great.

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