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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Kindergarten teachers plead for smaller classes

Class sizes may exceed 30 without another teacher

Flanked by all but one of the Payson Elementary School kindergarten teachers, Jane Pond and Sylvia Sandoval on July 27 begged the Payson Unified School District board to add another kindergarten teacher to the staff.

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What the heck to do with all those juniper berries

The Healthy Foodie

Anyone else have trees white with juniper berries, poised to rain down on the porch?

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Payson pulls reeds to protect water quality

People who love Green Valley Park also love the myriad of water creatures that populate the lake, many hiding in and amongst the plants growing along the shore.

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Changing the culture of PUSD

Last year, the Payson Unified School District board requested the culture of the district change after a tumultuous year.

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School board approves 2015-16 staff stipends

Staff with the Payson Unified School District will receive a one-time stipend during the 2015-16 school year.

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Gear Up returns to PUSD

The Gear Up program has returned to Payson Unified School District and former Rim Country Middle School physical education teacher Jackie Wallace will serve as the coordinator.

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Familiar face takes over RCMS

Jennifer White will head up Rim Country Middle School as its new principal starting the 2015-16 school year.

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JRE principal says supporting teachers supports students

Linda Scoville, the new principal at Julia Randall Elementary, found her passion for education while juggling her time between single parenthood and a job to pay the bills.

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It’s all about the relationships for new PES principal

Gail Milton’s office at Payson Elementary School sports an inviting shade of lavender on the walls.

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New music store will make parents’ lives easier

Parents of band kids rejoice! There’s no more need to drive to Phoenix to get instruments repaired or rented.

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Water guy purifies and saves money

To celebrate almost 10 years in business, Alan Roeder of Mountain Water Systems changed his phone number.

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Benefits of berries worth battling birds and bugs

The Healthy Foodie

There’s a battle in my backyard.

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GCC inching toward accreditation

Independence could take five years and $12 million

At its first-ever board retreat on March 27, Gila Community College board member Jerry McCreary agreed to create a new committee to win independent accreditation.

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Classes dwindle

No AP physics, chemistry again

For the second year in a row, Payson High School will not offer Advanced Placement physics —nor will it offer AP chemistry. The reason?

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Gila Community College needs new lobbyist – again

Barely a year after hiring the lobbying firm, Polito, the Gila Community College board will seek a new firm.

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Garden of delights

Summer brings bumper crops in Payson Community Garden

It’s July, and the Payson Community Garden has leafed out, while flowers bloom on plants.

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Giving – and receiving in return

It’s a Tuesday and Jim Clayton has on his Forest Service green pants, volunteer shirt and heavy boots to collect trash.

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College ponders how to keep more students

GCC studies free tuition for seniors

The Gila Community College board has decided to research how to find, keep and support students at the community college — even retirees.

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Plans to help Payson Kids Read

The Read On Gila County Stakeholders will hold its quarterly meeting on Friday, July 10 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Payson Library to continue to help children in the County read.

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School tempest

Much ado about curriculum, texts

Three years ago, the Payson Unified School District adopted Beyond Textbooks.

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Slather, slap, slurp & soothe: Saving the skin

The Healthy Foodie

I overdid it on the Fourth of July weekend.

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Visitors leave less trash in the forest

Overall, the July 4 weekend in the forest went pretty well, according to Chris Welker, recreation officer for the Payson Ranger District.

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Payson schools struggle to juggle online classes

Board approves plan to improve completion rate, pay

On June 18, the Payson Unified School District board voted to change the name of Payson Virtual Academy to Payson Center for Success Online.

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Pine wine tasting room open on holiday

There’s a new and fun thing to do in Pine each weekend — wine tasting at the Trident Winery Tasting Room off Hardscrabble Road.

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Storm lashes Rim Country

After the severe thunderstorm on Tuesday, June 30, it didn’t look good for the Fourth of July celebrations, but the National Weather Service predicts only a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms in the evening for Payson’s fireworks show — which could attract as many as 20,000 people, including many fleeing the heat in the Valley.

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Forest Service gears up for another trashy weekend

Volunteers set to remind visitors to Pack It Out

The Forest Service and its volunteers learned a lot from the Memorial Day Pack It Out program — they need much bigger dumpsters.

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Farmers Market Fun

They even play Rock-Paper-Scissors

The kids gathered around Scoops owner, Payson Town Council member and sponsor of the event, Chris Higgins to learn exactly how to beat the competition in the annual Rock-Paper-Scissors contest at the Payson Farmers Market.

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Cool as a cucumber – or at least I tried to be

The Healthy Foodie

Watching the Monster Mudder 5K for the first time in my life, I thought of cucumbers.

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Kinder, gentler school board

‘We’re in transition out of chaos and crisis’

The Payson Unified School District board at its retreat on June 27 admitted the reverberations of the last two years still haunt them, but have faith the new administration is guiding them through the maze firmly and calmly.

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Volunteers rally to help Forest Service protect the forest

Cheerful helpers patrol, make signs, educate and clean up

For Pat Shelton, it started with a skill saw and a bathroom remodel.

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Charter school due

Could impact Payson district

American Leadership Academy, a multi-campus charter school from the Valley, announced it will open a K-12 campus in Payson by 2016, an announcement with potentially serious consequences for the Payson Unified School District.

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Monsoon onset may douse fire risk

The dark clouds can’t be missed and this week saw lightning strikes up near Christopher Creek.

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Community theater group gives ‘Pity Party’

Performing “Pity Party” in the cozy Black Box Theatre behind the Payson High School Auditorium provides a personal feel.

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New AZ director of veterans services visits Payson

Local vets frustrated by lack of advocate

Wanda Wright, the new director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, stopped by Payson June 12 during her statewide tour — and heard an earful.

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New charter school coming to Payson

Rim Country will have a new option for its kindergarten through high school students by August of 2016 - the charter school American Leadership Academy.

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Break even budget

With Arizona cutting school budgets, while the governor demands they increase classroom spending, Payson Unified School District came up with a plan: reprioritize.

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Slew of arrests over weekend

Payson Police arrested 10 people during the third weekend in June.

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Woman rescued

Bystanders race to save woman trapped under car

A piercing scream split the night just as Chelsea Pierson and her friend left Pierson’s grandmother’s house at the end of Longhorn Road at 11 p.m. Sunday.

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Maybe Aussies have it right about beets

The Healthy Foodie

So I’m at a barbecue and my editor grabs a pickled beet to put on his burger.

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New store offers furniture, appliances

Pete and Vicki Allen decided Payson needed a furniture store that fell somewhere between thrift and new – so they started Affordable Furniture and Appliances on Cedar Lane.

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School board debates new version of vision

Do we mostly want “productive citizens”?

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After half a decade, Quilting Sisters closes

Cheryl Dolby and her husband took over the quilting shop five and a half years ago, renaming it Quilting Sisters, but now they have decided it is time to close the doors.

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Payson may revive online classes

But only 25 percent finish

Last year, Payson Unified School District shelved its online school, Payson Virtual Academy. Now, the district wants to resurrect the program.

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Firefighter has his truck stolen at gunpoint

The Facebook rumor mill has spread the story of local Payson Hotshot Charles Corey Baldner-Hathaway’s truck being stolen at gunpoint Sunday evening.

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Lungs involved in losing weight

The Healthy Foodie

I just learned that contrary to what I believe, and about what half the doctors and dietitians believe, the body dumps fat by breathing.

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Payson gains community theatre group

The Rim Country has a choral society and lots of bands, but no community theatre.

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Common Core prompts textbook worries

In a clash between the old and new, the Payson Unified School District board voted on what to do with old, obsolete textbooks and the new online curriculum framework, Beyond Textbooks.

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Good, dirty fun

677 participate in Monster Mudder

The third annual Mogollon Monster Mudder 5K Run started at the parking lot with cars as the contestants.

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A mother triumphs over heroin addiction

It took three weeks to sit down to the interview with Lindsey, but any working mother would understand the reasons — a sick child, a forgotten doctor’s appointment, a call to cover a shift.

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Wine of all kinds has healed throughout the ages

The Healthy Foodie

This past weekend, while wandering around Pine covering the Summer Festival and craft fair for the paper, I ran across the new tasting room for Trident Winery.

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