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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Report: Far more teachers needed

The Arizona Department of Education’s Educator Retention and Recruitment Task Force has come out with a second report highlighting the need to address the teacher shortage.

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County school superintendent retiring

Linda O’Dell, Gila County’s school superintendent for the last 12 years, will retire at the end of the year.

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Former teachers criticize charter school

School officials respond to charges and point to test scores, rapid growth

The proposed opening of an American Leadership Academy charter school in Payson has spurred a furious debate in the community.

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An explosion of oranges in the dead of winter

The Healthy Foodie

Sometimes when I pick up my bi-weekly co-op selection of fruits and veggies from the Bountiful Baskets, I turn into a competitor from the Food Network Show “Chopped.”

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Native Grill supports Ag program

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the Payson FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) officers celebrated at Native Grill for a couple of reasons.

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College ponders tuition boost

The Gila Community College board has a critical decision to make — whether to raise tuition.

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Seeking a rock – forging a tribe

Writer discovers it’s not the destination but the journey that counts

My mom hopped out of the Jeep.

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Schools face onslaught of new laws

Superintendent briefs board on status of bills

The Arizona Legislature is back in session — which means Payson Unified School District Superintendent Greg Wyman is gearing up for more onslaughts on district schools — if the bills he’s tracking make it through the committee process.

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Storm delivers rare dose of ‘thundersnow’

Ever heard of thundersnow?

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My go to sleep aid – chamomile

The Healthy Foodie

So, I told my editor that I wouldn’t have made it into work if I didn’t have my chamomile tea to help me sleep. I’ve used the herb for years to get me back to sleep when insomnia hits.

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Hell of a hard hike to get to paradise

Fossil Creek Trail lures the ill prepared for a chance to splash in travertine pools

Each year, in that glorious time between the brisk cold of winter and the searing heat of summer, my children and I embark on an expedition down the Fossil Creek Trail to the spring source. One of our favorite trips of the year, we look forward to playing in those magical pools, but also prepare for the trek with plenty of water, hats, lots of snacks and time. Unfortunately, many of the people badly underestimate the rigors of the eight-mile round trip complete with 3,000 feet of elevation lost and then painfully regained. Every weekend, search and rescue teams haul the unlucky or ill prepared up the long, steep trail. This summer could set rescue records, especially if the current closure of Fossil Creek Road prompts even more flip-flop-wearing, beer-cooler toting flatlanders to go slopping down the trail.

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Special ed’s alarming gap

Alarmed by the wide and persistent gap between special education students and the general student population, the Arizona Department of Education’s Exceptional Student (Special Education) Office has directed districts to close the gap.

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New storm coming

The National Weather Service has warned of a fast-moving winter storm charging through Arizona from Sunday to Monday.The National Weather Service has warned of a fast-moving winter storm charging through Arizona from Sunday to Monday.

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Campy parody a comic delight

In homage to Shakespeare, the Payson High School Theatre Troupe performed “Commedia Delight,” a play of mistaken identity and redemption with an Italian lilt instead of the thees and thous of Shakespeare.

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Charter schools: Boon or Bane?

Charter School Report: Tough Choice

With just months to go before the American Leadership Academy charter school opens its doors in Payson, the stage is set for competition in education in Rim Country.

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Students struggle with excess stress

Lots of students say they can have sleep, friends or good grades — but not all three.

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Brand new buildings, cheerful children

Roundup reporter tours American Leadership Academy’s brand new school in Queen Creek

Amidst fields of cotton and sorghum interspersed with a smattering of housing developments, the American Leadership Academy Ironwood sprouts from empty farmland.

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Happily, healthily fermenting

The Healthy Foodie

I’ve known my friend Stacey for about 10 years now. She’s vivacious, bubbly, driven and just a tiny bit possessed with pure, healthy foods, raised in the garden and eaten at home.

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Geologist turns tour guide, turns painter – with a flare for color

Jeffrey D. Wiles identifies himself first as a geologist, then as an educational travel guide/geology and natural history instructor and somewhere around the time he pulls out his Merchant Marine captain status, he will mention he’s an artist.

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Memory, fear and polishing the rusty edges

A skier rediscovers her skis and her joy atop the fresh snow

I unearthed my old blue Dynastar skies out from the corner of the garage where I had stored them when I moved to Payson five years ago.

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Pine schools reopen mercury-tainted gym

The Pine-Strawberry School Board at its meeting on Jan. 11 voted to re-open the gym it had closed last year.

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This girl’s book report delivers a Martian

Famous author delights audience of eager students

A book report, a local connection and the desire for extra credit brought Andy Weir, author of “The Martian,” to Rim Country Middle School on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

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Celebrating the best of kids

RCMS teachers host banquet for students often overlooked

Teachers say some kids that touch their hearts never get recognized because they don’t shine in athletics, the arts or academics.

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Wyman fields charter questions

The imminent opening of the American Leadership Academy in Payson has everyone scrambling to understand what it all means.

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Stopping the violence

True tale of terror and redemption

Roscoe Dabney, a crack shot from his days as a Marine in Vietnam, remembers when he pointed his gun at his girlfriend and pulled the trigger.

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Victory lap for Payson’s Fiesta float

Despite the chill in the air, Rim Country residents came out to view the massive 2016 Payson Fiesta Bowl Parade float at the Payson High School football parking lot on Monday, Jan. 11.

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‘No bad days’

Family recalls Greg Day’s laughter and courage

So many loved Greg Day that the family will hold a celebration of his life at the Payson High School Auditorium on Jan. 16 at 10 a.m.

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Community college enrollment declining

The gavel for the presidency of the Gila Community College board has passed from Sam Moorhead to Jay Spehar of Globe just in time to grapple with declining enrollment.

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Estrogen, estrogen everywhere!

The Healthy Foodie

So I’ve been thinking a lot about hormones lately.

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Payson’s 2016 Fiesta Bowl Float on display today at 4:00 p.m.

It's the largest float ever built by the town

Come out and view the 2016 award-winning float for Payson at the Payson High School Football Field Parking lot off of Longhorn Road from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11.

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Understanding those burn piles in the forest

Lawrence Misch worries about the burn piles on the trails near his home created by the Forest Service as they work to clear out choked underbrush and dense thickets of trees.

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Charter school makes pitch to Chamber group

In August, Rim Country will have another education option for parents — the charter school American Leadership Academy.

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Winter storm shuts down Rim Country

Expect brief respite Saturday, extended better weather next week

A major winter storm this week dumped a total of 12 to 15 inches of snow on Payson, shutting down schools and government offices.

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Owner of Macky’s succumbs to cancer

Greg Day remembered for cheerful attitude

After more than a five-year battle with Stage IV kidney cancer, beloved owner of Macky’s Grill, Greg Day, died Thursday morning with his family by his side.

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Salt River Rafting: A blast of a splash

Fledgling rafter finds, it’s not the fear, it’s the ride

I hate roller coasters. In fact I can’t stand anything that suddenly loses altitude: A plane in an air pocket, a car in a dip — anything that makes my stomach float above my heart.

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Another PUSD snow day and county office closures

Overnight snow totals shut down government

Both Payson Unified School District and Gila County businesses offices and courts in the Payson area closed Thursday due to heavy snow and will not open on Friday.

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Payson schools closed Thursday due to winter storm

Payson may get 8 inches of snow by Friday

Payson Unified School District has called for a snow day on Thursday, Jan. 7 due to a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service.

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Payson High School wins $3,000 healthy living grant

Student advises CEOs on the habits of teens

When Donna Moore, a Payson High School physical education teacher saw the Fuel Up To Play 60 grant sponsored by Domino’s Pizza application in her inbox, she knew exactly who would be the best to apply — Lindsey Wala.

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Payson Fiesta Bowl Parade float wins

Both Cameron Davis and John Wakelin have walked the Fiesta Bowl Parade route all three times Payson has entered the parade.

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Fire and feeding the brain

The Healthy Foodie

As I moved my belt over another notch to accommodate the extra inch or so I’ve gifted myself from all the holiday cooking, I ran across a study by a Harvard researcher that postulates cooking made our brains bigger.

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Storms will deliver one, two, three punch

After a beautiful, sunny start to the year, winter will pummel the Rim Country with a series of storms this week, predicts the National Weather Service.

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Payson wins again at the Fiesta Bowl Parade

Squad of volunteers awaits 11 a.m parade start time

For the third time in a row, Payson’s Fiesta Bowl float takes the top honor the “Elevate Arizona” award.

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Art teacher’s head in the clouds

GCC instructor seeks deeply ‘intuitive connection’

Ever interested in learning to paint from memory or in the moment?

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Petroglyph HUNT

Ancient inhabitants leave their mark on chiseled stones

I gingerly stepped over a tiny cholla cactus only to land on scraggly cat claw hidden by the dried grass. The hooked thorns dug into the side of my foot, but I decided I could deal with it later — more important to keep up with the group.

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$1,400 school theft

Secretary admits stealing donations

Alyssa (Ulibarri) Dunman, former school employee and daughter-in-law of former Payson Unified School District principal Will Dunman, will spend three years on probation and do 100 hours of community service after the felony theft of $1,400 from the district.

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Fatal Payson Fire Ushers in New Year

Man dies in his bedroom

At 2:30 a.m on January 1 on the North Vista Road in Payson, a fire broke out in a home occupied by a husband and wife.

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Payson’s Fiesta Bowl Parade float ready

Payson’s largest float ever will grace the Fiesta Bowl Parade on Jan. 2 — along with the trees. No one forgets the dancing trees.

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Vocational programs at risk

Unless the Arizona Legislature votes to remove four pesky paragraphs from the language in the budget bill it passed earlier this year, statewide vocational educational districts will lose half their funding in January.

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Pint-sized hero of education – Brooklyn Klein

Student raises thousands to help others

Acknowledging that so far the Heroes of Education recognized by the Payson Unified School District have only been adults, Superintendent Greg Wyman couldn’t hide his pleasure as he introduced fourth-grader Brooklyn Klein as this month’s recipient.