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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Tonto Basin: So fun it’s scary

More ghouls. More ghosts. More good times. For the past 30-plus years, the residents of Tonto Basin have put on a Halloween Carnival at the school to raise money for playground equipment and other needs of the district. This year, they’re going Halloween happy.

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Pride of Payson Competes

Young band with a new director pulls it together

After a rough start to the 2017 marching band season, the Pride of Payson performed its heart out at the ASU Band Day on Oct. 15 — without any trips or starting the music on the wrong measure.

Moina Shaiq braves anger to plead for peace and understanding

Moina Shaiq has lived in the United States since 1978, but she originally came from Pakistan.

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Payson School Board candidates debate the issues

Religion, home schooling, after-school activities and special education spurred spirited exchange among Payson School Board candidates at a recent Kiwanis-hosted debate.

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Payson Head Start Program helps parents prepare for the worst

Little Trayton Harrison looked anxiously up at his mother Cinnamon. Volunteer Chris Herzig cooed to him, “It’s OK, I just need to get your finger wet so we can get its print.”

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To Bee or Not to Bee — what to do about the decimation of our pollinators

Here’s why I hate bees. Well, hated bees. I’m better now. But it started out with bees, bras and humiliation. I was 22. I had kind of a study date in the library. Cute guy — and an angry pollinator (the bee, not the guy).

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Payson's got Longhorn Pride for Friday's Homecoming celebrations

Brimming with hometown spirit, Payson got ready for Friday’s Homecoming game with a Thursday night bonfire and a joyful Friday Homecoming Parade.

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Pine school board election seeks to calm chaos

Three incumbents unopposed, but three newcomers seek two seats

The Pine-Strawberry Elementary School District rocked with controversy in June when its Superintendent/Principal Cody Barlow resigned due to ‘bullying and nepotism’ by the school board.

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Tonto Basin residents in race for School Board

In the scorching summer month of July, the Tonto Basin Elementary School governing board faced a heated crowd sizzling over the proposed increases in property taxes to cover the capital needs of the school.

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Payson school candidates debate

At a recent Payson Tea Party meeting, four of the five candidates for the Payson Unified School District School Board answered questions on parent involvement in reading, school vouchers, home schooling and the function of a board member.

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Dating debate grows over recent PHS presentation

By Friday, Oct. 7, reaction to the Roundup story (Dating talk flap: School assembly warns girls not to provoke ‘uncontrollable’ boys) on the Brad Henning relationship assembly had spread through the flames of social media reaching parents, students, graduates, former teachers and even other media outlets.

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The great and lustful caper for capers

How did I ever find out about capers? Not really sure — it’s a mystery. But capers are those tiny green pickled berries used in classic dishes like chicken piccata. So I set off on a wild caper to find out about these pungent little packs of flavor. Are they healthy?

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Councilor: Get creative, Payson

Payson Town Council member and small-business owner Chris Higgins has seen economic revitalization in progress and believes it’s possible for Payson.

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New hope blossoms for the homeless in Rim Country

When Joe Corrigan and church leaders throughout Payson heard about a 23-year-old homeless man who hung himself out of despair, it galvanized them to find a solution — Hope House.

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School candidate wants students better prepared

Payson native Shane Keith wants to give back

Shane Keith would like to give back to the town that has given him so much by serving on the Payson School Board.

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Cicada hitchhiker really hanging on

On Monday, Ross Roberson picked up a most unique hitchhiker — a cicada. What are cicadas? Those bugs that make that racket in the trees every summer until they disappear until it heats up again. They make their song by vibrating parts of their body.

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Sugar industry paid for ‘official’ positive research

My blood caramelized when I learned that research published in Journal of the American Medical Association indicates the sugar industry paid for research to give little weight to sugar’s role in cardiovascular disease.

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Payson kids dive into water conservation session

Students delight in 10th Annual Water Festival

At the 10th Annual Water Festival on Sept. 27 at Green Valley Park, high school students who had gone to the festival when they were in fourth grade helped a new crop of fourth-grade students learn about the Payson watershed.

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PHS assembly warns girls not to provoke "uncontrollable" boys

Dating talk flap

What does it say to Payson High School girls when 350 show up to a mandatory assembly on relationships during school hours, while only 25 PHS boys show up to a voluntary after-school session?

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New pitch for Payson: ‘Adventure where we live’

Marketing plan aims to boost Rim businesses

With new Payson leadership starting in January, the Collective Arizona business group has launched a marketing strategy based on Payson’s natural hometown charm and adventure.

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Treacherous drain on Main finally fixed

On Monday morning, the Town of Payson’s street department tore up the sidewalk in front of Coyote Auto.

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Greer trial set

Pine water board treasurer faces fraud, conflict charges

On Monday, Sept. 26, Mike Greer, the former treasurer of the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District and the Mounted Posse, had a case management hearing on the state’s case alleging fraud, theft and forgery amongst other charges.

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School board candidates gather

Four of the five Payson Unified School District school board candidates made their case for votes at the Sept. 20 Payson Tea Party meeting.

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Organized shoplifting

During the weekend of Sept. 17 and 18, the Payson Police had eight arrests.

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Kale, the celebrity of vegetables

The Healthy Foodie

Kale is the new ‘It’ veggie.

Judge lets woman out of health plan after doctor, hospital drop contract

Beat the system

A Rim Country resident has won the right to apply for health insurance mid-year on the Affordable Care Act Health Exchange — because the insurance she purchased didn’t cover local doctors.

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‘Alice in Wonderland’ another triumph for Missoula Children's Theatre

This year, the Missoula Children’s Theatre brought “Alice in Wonderland” to Payson.

Pedestrian killed in Tonto Basin

Tragedy claims Tonto Basin man

On Monday, Sept. 19 at 9:28 a.m., Bethany Cheney, a Tonto Basin resident, hit and killed Ted Morton as he jogged along Highway 188.

APS makes case for rate hike

Utility wants 8 percent increase – new peak charges

It’s a challenge to run a multi-million-dollar electric company — especially when requesting a rate increase.

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PHS tech teacher Bud Evans receives Innovation Award

Payson High School’s technology and computer systems instructor and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) adviser Bud Evans received the Innovation Award from his peers around the state on Aug. 25 at the Arizona Business Educators Association and FBLA Teacher Leadership training conference.

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Arizona Lawmakers push for re-election

On a campaign stop at the Payson Tea Party during a whirlwind tour of Sedona, Cottonwood and Payson, Arizona Senator Sylvia Allen, Representative Brenda Barton and Representative Bob Thorpe laid out their case for re-election.

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Payson High School students learn of options after graduation

On Friday, Sept. 9, Payson High School students spent the morning learning what it takes to make the next step after high school.

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Is cheese or wine better? Such a dilemma!

I once dated two men at the same time. Hardest thing I’ve ever done because I’m a monogamous kind of gal. But each of these guys had something cool about them. Mike was intellectual and cultured. Bob was adventurous and a great cook.

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ASU Space & geology students bond at Camp Tontozona

The final frontier

Ric Alling watched with bated breath as a freshman from ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) held the laser pointer and turned toward the Andromeda constellation.

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One more crash pushes Pine Fire to the limit

On Sept. 15, a young woman lost control of her SUV and crashed into the guardrail a few miles from the Highway 87 and 260 turnoff on top of the Rim.

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A total loss of his motor home - but he's grateful

“Of course it had to happen on 9/11,” said Don Haynie, owner of a motor home that caught on fire. “It was a catastrophic motor home fire. But Sheriff’s Deputy Ridge Halenar drove by and saw the smoke.”

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Payson Ranger District loses a great recreation officer

Muise moves to Washington state

The Payson Ranger District has lost a great resource — Recreation Officer Chelsea Muise. She moved onto Washington state to serve as recreation manager for the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in late August.

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Heck of a good time at Gila County Fair

Victoria Rutherford couldn’t help but crow about her Grand Champion award from the Northern Gila County Fair for her Cornish rooster, Sweetie.

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Much ado about very little: Arizona school standards get tweaked

The Arizona Department of Educa­tion and its committee of educators has poured over the K-12 Common Core standards and come up with a new set.

AHCCS coverage for kids

Surviving a Sick System

On Sept. 1, Arizona started to support children who qualify for KidsCare after a six-year hiatus.

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I know nothing about food preservation – nothing!

So, I thought I had an adequate knowledge of food preservation. I mean, don’t you just throw veggies and fruits in the freezer? I feel pretty confident with water bath canning, yet at least one jar doesn’t seal in each batch.

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Rim Country sixth wettest monsoon since 1981

Rim Country has seen its sixth wettest monsoon since 1981. A normal monsoon in Payson delivers 5.45 inches of rain. This year, the area has received an average 8.88 inches.

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Arizona public has a chance to weigh in on school standards

During the 2014 election race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, much ado was made over the core subject standards for K-12 education.

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Pack It Out may set trash record

This Labor Day, the Forest Service and its volunteers will fan out through the forest to educate people on the Pack It Out program designed to collect campers’ trash.

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Missoula Children’s Theater back in Payson

Do not follow the White Rabbit’s mistake that made him mutter, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

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Thomas Walling - A life of service

On Tuesday, friends of Thomas Walling, the Payson Unified School District Auditorium Director, found him in his apartment. He had passed away.

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Pine’s Trident winery getting into the spirit(s)

Crushing grapes

On a hot August day, 2.2 tons of grapes sat in Ray Stephens’ driveway. “We can make 150 to 175 gallons of wine out of 1.2 tons of grapes,” said the owner of Trident Winery.

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Pine water snafu costs customer

Kurt Richardson thought the $3,200 quoted to him would cover the cost of a meter to get water to his retirement home in Pine. Not so.

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Foodie readers respond with fun, help

I sent out an appeal to hear from my beloved readers and they got back to me! I decided these tidbits gave me so much joy I couldn’t keep them to myself — despite a long list of topics to cover.

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Sticker shock for Pine water customers

Heavy water users face staggering rise in bills

Two customers came to express their outrage, confusion and shock about the water bills they received from the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District at the Aug. 18 board meeting.