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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Slave war grips Rim Country (... 800 years ago)

Hilltop fortresses suggest conflict

The silent tumbles of stone on hilltops scattered throughout Rim Country and much of Central Arizona have revealed a startling lost world, marked by warfare, violence, slavery and a desperate struggle to survive.

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Payson losing principals

By the end of the 2014/15 school year, Payson Unified School District will lose 50 percent of its principals — Rob Varner and Asa Hall.

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‘We are stardust’ with magnesium in our veins

The Healthy Foodie

“We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion-year-old carbon, And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” ­— Joni Mitchell

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Lawmakers target Common Core

The Arizona Legislature has launched an all-out attack on Common Core and the AzMERIT test.

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San Carlos Apaches will start own college

The San Carlos Apache Tribe announced its plan to create the San Carlos Apache College by August 2016 to the Gila Community College at its meeting on March 12.

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New radio station focus is anti-addiction/violence

A new radio station is now broadcasting in the Rim Country — 99.7 FM KPJM-LP.

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Staff parking lot at college approved for lighting

The Gila Community College board debated the cost and safety issues to add lights to the Payson campus staff parking lot at its March 12 meeting — finally approving the additional lighting — pending a clarification of the cost.

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Winter leaves with a dash of snow, rain

Making one last roar, the lion of winter brought rain to the Rim Country late Wednesday evening.

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Teacher shortage hits Rim Country

Around the country, school districts face a crisis — a lack of teachers.

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GCC quest dealt setback

Gila Community College finds itself in a Catch 22 in its quest for accreditation and independence, the board learned at its March 12 meeting.

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Organic food – Designer shoes – Worth the cost?

The Healthy Foodie

I rarely venture into Nordstrom’s, but I found myself at the ritzy department store looking for a black, closed-toe concert shoe for my youngest daughter.

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Teen discovers crater, and a cosmic mystery

Cody Rislund searched the mass of photos of the face of Mars for his seventh-grade science project.

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Satire offers a biting message

When Payson High School senior Steven Martinez stumbled across the play, “Supermodels in Jeopardy,” he knew he had a winner.

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Beer – A health food?

The Healthy Foodie

My editor looked stressed.

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Courage, love and his own guardian angel

Ken Shepherd lay paralyzed in a remote canyon, his back broken in two places and his life dangling by the thread of a stranger’s courage.

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Program offers training for tasty careers

When asked, Victoria Van Camp said the New York table had the best food and presentation.

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Looking pretty: GCC’s new cosmetology program

Gila Community College aims to train more beauty makers at its Rim Country Cosmetology Academy — and the community can help.

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Fake singing – real joy

This year’s annual Rim Country Optimist and Rotary Club Lip Sync Contest drew acts from students to school administrators to, yes, even the judges.

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Payson Community Garden getting ready to sprout

Get ready for the 2015 Community Garden grand opening March 7.

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One final battle

Group honors service of veterans in hospice

Gustave “Frank” Berger hunched in his wheelchair while his wife, Ripples, held his trembling hand. Frank has been accepted into hospice care, with his oxygen bottle and a lifetime of memories — including service in the Navy in World War II and Korea.

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‘Angels all around me ...’

Grand Canyon clouds inspire Pine songwriter

John Carpino finally has his dream job — playing music all the time.

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Storms refill C.C. Cragin

Just two sizable winter storms have almost refilled the nearly empty C.C. Cragin Reservoir, according to the Salt River Project.

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Discover quinoa – nature’s super food

The Healthy Foodie

Always a sucker for delicious food, I jumped at the chance to attend a cooking demonstration on quinoa by local chef Gerardo Moceri. Catch was — he decided to cook in the Anytime Fitness Gym.

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Culinary Arts students learn how to make healthy tasty

Devon Wells plopped a huge cookie sheet down on the counter.

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It’s elementary: Jump Rope for Heart!

This week, both Payson Elementary School and Julia Randall Elementary held their annual Jump Rope for Heart event.

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Theater teacher reaches students with Renaissance Fair

Nick Pfeifle waited with Payson High School theater instructor Kathy Siler for the rest of the students at the gates of the Arizona Renaissance Festival.

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PHS band strong in regionals

The marching band uniforms might be put away, but the competitions continue.

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Schools fear impact

Board worries bills will hurt students

After listening to an alarming summary of new laws likely to cut funding and increase demands on public schools, newly elected Payson school board member Angie Prock asked a pointed question.

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Governor signs law ending AIMS test in schools

On Friday, Feb. 20 AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) breathed its last breath.

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Storms delight firefighters, skiers and reservoir watchers

The Salt River Project had predicted a wet February, but until Sunday evening, Rim Country had a fine coat of dry dust.

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Students offer teacher a fascinating lesson in role-playing

Alas, poor Pinland learns the bitter lessons of World War I

Payson High School history teacher Chad Gower admits he’s much more comfortable teaching from a strict lesson plan, but decided to color outside the lines to teach World War I. He ended up learning right along with his students.

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Federal judge overturns delay in deportations

A federal judge in Texas this week ruled that President Barack Obama’s executive order deferring deportations for three years for millions of people who have lived without documentation in the United States for years has cast a shadow of uncertainty over many seeking legal permission to stay.

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Stuck in limbo

Girl trapped immigration tangle

Maria sat in her chair, stylishly dressed after a day of school, which figures so largely in all of her dreams.

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Did Valentine chocolates hurt or help?

The Healthy Foodie

My family has this odd but endearing ritual when it comes to boxes of chocolates we have done since I was a child — we cut each piece of candy into three or four bits to distribute to those gathered when we open a box.

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Payson hosts successful academic decathlon

Its takes a village to put on a regional academic decathlon competition and the village of Payson responded to the need on Friday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 7.

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Match made in heaven: Volunteers needed

Roger Kreimeyer felt stuck.

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Cross-country runners on long haul for kids’ health

Elite runners alarmed by childhood obesity

On Saturday afternoon, runners from the Race Across the USA team came through Payson.

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APS plans tall, metal power poles for Payson

APS will ultimately replace all the wooden poles dotting the landscape in Payson, but not necessarily with the towering metal poles that spurred protests along streets such as Bulla and Bobby Jones.

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50 years of losing nutrients

Nostalgia. Everything used to be better — music, the pace of life, you name it. But how about veggies?

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The annual Rim Country Middle School ski trip

The day had bright sunshine and bright snow that glittered like diamonds, but the brightest things were the smiles from the Rim Country Middle School students.

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Trident making wine from whatever’s at hand

The second winery in Gila County has started bottling wine for sale, but it’s not the typical made-from-grapes type of wine.

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College on quest for independence

Gila Community College board member Gerald McCreary made a second report on the college’s years-long journey to seek accreditation and independence at its board meeting on Feb. 5.

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Picking a cowboy hat remains western art form

Buffalo, beaver and wool – the hat makes the man

There’s a hierarchy of cowboy hats from felt to wool to furs from buffalo to beaver.

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Two casts, twice the fun for 'Harvey'

Complex set proves perfect setting for classic comedy

In a bold move, and because he had 24 strong thespian students, Thomas Walling of the Payson High School Theatre program, cast two completely different sets of students in the 12 roles of “Harvey.”

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Permission to question, proves key to learning

An interesting thing happened when Payson High School physics teacher Andrew Fiala showed his students evidence that fellow classmates had more gaps in their math knowledge than anyone knew — they asked questions.

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Hearing dampens claims water company overcharged

After months of accusations and days of hearings, turns out Payson Water Company only charged residents of Mesa del Caballo about $200 on water hauling charges in 2011, the evidence showed at the end of the latest hearing before an Arizona Corporation Commission judge.

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Herb inspires a battle between countries

The Healthy Foodie

Really, what won’t men do to improve their sex life?

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GCC seeks support for equitable workforce funds

Gila Community College Senior Dean Stephen Cullen is fed up.

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Schools in ‘dire straits’ for lack of state facilities money

Payson superintendent warns board district has no money for repairs

Seems the Arizona Legislature believes school facilities can be kept up simply by magic — or on a wing and a prayer.

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