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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Many Payson Elementary students aced tough, new AzMERIT test

Payson celebrates smart kids

The Payson Unified School District board honored 51 third- through fifth-grade students for performing above expectations on the AzMERIT test at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Help free human rights prisoners

Ever imagined a letter could free a human rights prisoner? Payson Amnesty International member Bob Horne said letters written have made a difference.

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Volunteers ready to help neglected, abused children

David Morrison, took his oath to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate on Nov. 17.

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Follow the money - AZ superintendent changes tune

After riding into the state superintendent of education position on one issue — getting rid of Common Core academic standards — Diane Douglas has decided it’s all about the money.

Blue Cross Blue Shield tries to answer questions

Blue Cross Blue Shield will serve as the only health insurance provider for Gila County residents who need to purchase an individual plan off of the federal affordable health care exchange.

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Increased limits for some tax credits

Arizona taxpayers may increase their tax credit donations to nonprofits and foster care organizations, but not to public schools and the military family fund relief.

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An iris by any other name – is Payson

Sallie Lowman and other gardeners from the High Country Garden Club got dirty for a good cause — planting irises at the base of the trees lining the Town of Payson path near Main Street.

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Beware of scams - read fine print on Medicare insurance policies

Beware calls promising a Medicare program that sounds too good to be true. “The government’s Medicare agency never calls beneficiaries asking to check their Medicare number, birth date, etc.,” said local health insurance agent Tom Russell. “Medicare contacts its beneficiaries by mail.”

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Myth of food, family & healing – or maybe there’s something there

As a kid, I remember getting dressed up to eat Thanksgiving dinner. I hated it.

Payson school district ponders specifics of civics test

The Payson Unified School District Governing Board had concerns about the mandatory civics test needed for graduation at its meeting on Nov. 14.

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Business students serve up a fundraiser

The line of high school students anxious to snarf up Gerardo’s delicious pizza and pasta snaked out the door.

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Dueker Ranch galloping to rescue of children

Dueker Ranch’s horse therapy has worked miracles. Children with autism have learned to come out of their shells.

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Pine Water audit suggests changes

An independent audit gave the fraud-plagued Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District a long financial to-do list.

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A fungus among us – can diet help?

The Healthy Foodie

There is a fungus among us — and I’m not talking mushrooms. It’s a yeast called Candida and boy — it’s an ancient alien life form.

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Payson Veterans Day grows

Honoring their service

Each year, the Veterans Day Celebration in Payson grows larger. This year, the 200 pamphlets printed up ran out before everyone seated themselves.

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Rural insurance rates soar

Get ready for sticker shock. If a patient seeking coverage under does not qualify for government subsidies, the premiums and deductibles will cost as much as some get paid for a job.

Police investigate school threat

Early on Election Day, Payson High School parents received a call out from Principal Brian Mabb reporting a threat against Payson High School.

Market on the Move is stomping out food waste

Get ready for a new way to get your fruits and veggies — MOM. Actually, that’s the acronym for Market on the Move, but moms always wanted to get more fruits and veggies into their kids anyway.

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Incumbents and longtime residents win school races

Incumbents and long-time residents had a good night when it came to the elections for school boards in Payson and the Tonto Basin. The Payson Unified School District had three positions to fill.

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An ode to rhubarb and Aunt Eunice

The Healthy Foodie

I love family meals. I wax nostalgic connecting with my family’s food traditions. I did this at the breakfast table with my daughter, Crystal. We got to talking about the foods that made me think of the great women cooks in my family.

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How does your vote count?

A reader asked the Roundup to help him understand what his vote means in the presidential election.

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Massive fraud probed at Pine Water

Auditor general seeks missing $300,000

The Arizona auditor general continues to investigate hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District accounts, according to sources questioned by the AG.

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Explosion engulfs apartment building

A massive gas explosion that blew some residents out of their shoes and “vaporized” their escape route engulfed a two-story apartment building at 201 E. Zurich St. at 8 p.m. Saturday.

All charges dropped; Walker case dismissed

Two days after Christmas last year, Linda Gist called the Gila County Sheriff’s Office to report that her wife, Linda Walker, “assaulted her and was now holed up in their residence.”

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Gas line explosion destroy Payson home

Five injured as fire consumes two-story building

A rupture in a gas line caused an explosion at 8:08 p.m. Saturday in Payson, which engulfed a two-story apartment building at 201 E. Zurich St., an apartment building behind Ace Hardware. The flames that consumed the building rose higher than the pine trees next to the address.

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Community Gardeners feast on bounty

After a year of hard work, Payson Community Gardeners gather each year to celebrate their harvest and good works. At the dinner, the gardeners had much to celebrate. “We donated 9,000 pounds to the food banks this year,” said Garden secretary Linda Croy.

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The trick to a real treat

Star Wars dominated the theme of the Town of Payson’s Annual Trunk or Treat extravaganza — guess everyone can’t hold back the excitement over the new Disney Star Wars movie slated to open on Dec. 15.

Gila County groups cooperate to offer vocational training

Men squeezed out of workforce

Recently, a local Rim Country auto repair shop bemoaned the lack of skilled workers. “Either they have the talent and fail drug tests or they don’t have the skill,” said the owner — who asked that his name be withheld.

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Affordable Care Act premiums soar – but so do the subsidies

Insurance furor

The newswires have exploded with the news that premiums the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges will increase by an average of 25 percent nationally and as much as 119 percent in Arizona.

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The insidious eggplant or better yet, the Mad Apple

The Healthy Foodie

I hated eggplant. I first experienced eggplant when I visited my family’s farm during summer vacation. My Aunt Eunice, baker of perfect pies, would make something I had to choke down to be polite — fried eggplant dipped in a cornmeal batter.

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Phoenix Health Plans Medicare HMO leaving Arizona

On Nov. 1 a letter will arrive in the mailboxes of patients with Phoenix Health HMO stating the program will no longer be available in Arizona after Jan. 1, a company spokesperson confirmed.

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Play pays tribute to beloved mentor

The first week of the 2016-17 Payson High School school year, Thomas Walling cast the play, “Is He Dead?”

School locked down after police warning

Woman’s ‘bad day’ spurs action, frightens parents

Teachers at Julia Randall Elementary School rushed to lock themselves and their students in classrooms, the library and other buildings after Payson Police advised the school to go on “lockdown.”

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Judge rejects Greer’s bid to drop three charges

Former Pine water, posse treasurer still facing 7 charges

Judge Timothy Wright denied efforts to dismiss three of the eight counts of fraud and conflict of interest against Mike Greer, the former treasurer for the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District and the Mounted Posse.

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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.