Back to profile

Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

Tease photo

Texting confusion

Schools crisis system flawed

The Jan. 20 Payson Unified School District lockdown exposed a flaw in the district’s communication system the tech department has now fixed — the ability to send out text messages to parents.

Tease photo

Rim Country students show a surprising flair for science

Rural regional schools hold their own against Valley competitors

Maybe it’s because we have more streams running through Rim Country than anywhere else in Arizona or maybe it’s because the skies are so clear that every star glows or maybe it’s all the ranches, but this year, Rim Country students flexed their scientific muscles to triumph over many Valley schools in the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair.

Tease photo

Pepper – it's everywhere

The Healthy Foodie

The lowly pepper has inspired explorers, dominated economies, delighted gourmands, fascinated folk healers, bewitched the Romans, provoked Marco Polo to overstatement, boosted the economy of Vietnam — and wound up on every dinner table in North America.

Tease photo

GCC dean shows off artistic side

Show up at the Dimi Espresso for a beverage and stay to enjoy the art on the walls done by Gila Community College Dean Pam Butterfield.

Tease photo

Chance article reunites World War Two postcard with owner

A chance write-up in an article written by publisher John Naughton in 2010 connected a World War II vet with a postcard he wrote to a friend as he crossed the country to his training base in 1942.

Tease photo

Take a hike — on a Pine-Strawberry trail

Spring is in the air and it’s time to shake the cabin dust off and take a hike.

Tease photo

Gila Community College considers tax hike

Gila Community College’s 2015-16 budget looks better than last year, but the senior dean wants the board to vote to raise the property tax rate to the legal limit to protect programs.

Tease photo

Exodus of principals, teachers continues

At the April 13 Payson Unified School District board meeting, more names appeared on the agenda as separations from the district.

Tease photo

Modern success with an ancient technique

Local artist C J Lukacsik’s voice still carries the essence of her native Taiwan, although she’s lived in the United States for most of her life.

Tease photo

Tarzan swings into action

“Tarzan,” the Payson High School 2015 musical, brought laughs, tears and fun to audiences during its three-night run.

Tease photo

Community spirit swells during annual fundraiser planning

Poker run planners promise more fun, hope for no snow

In typical Tonto Basin style, the Lorraine Cline Memorial Poker Run Committee met at The Butcher Hook. But not in the restaurant — in the bar.

Tease photo

Schools cut budget

State forces $600,000 reduction

So, the official state budget has been signed and the cuts are in: Payson Unified School District has to peel away services to cover a $600,000 loss, which amounts to 4 percent of its operating budget.

Tease photo

History proves I’m not alone in my love affair with fad diets

The Healthy Foodie

It only makes sense that I obsess on fad diets as a food columnist — I also have way too much personal experience, having been on one or another since adolescence.

Tease photo

Ruins with a view

Archaeological Society labors to save traces of lost world in Goat Camp Ruins

An overwhelmed developer.

Tease photo

Pickleball poses a pretty pickle for Payson Parks

Passionate pickle people prod Payson to pour slab

They meet three days a week on the Rumsey Park tennis courts to play what’s been called the fastest growing sport — pickleball.

Tease photo

Bridges offers addicts way out

Narcotics can render you ‘homeless and destitute’

Daren Fry has tattoos on his fingers and hands, but wears a dress shirt and tie.

Tease photo

La Posada chef invokes spices to bewitch taste buds

Venison, quail, Hopi stews, savory elk create menu with a joyful sense of place

Little children make mud pie feasts creating magical memories for the imaginary guests of their imaginary castles.

Tease photo

Schools reach out to parents

Payson district on Saturday will offer free sessions aimed at parents

Last fall, the Payson district launched a program to bring parents, grandparents, guardians and interested community members into the school to educate and address concerns and questions.

Tease photo

Surprising goodness of eggs

The Healthy Foodie

So Easter Sunday has passed, and I have basketfuls of leftover brightly dyed and colored Easter eggs. Great.

Tease photo

PHS Theatre Troupe offers a flighty sample of the magic of Tarzan

Kathy Siler, director of the Payson High School Theatre Department and director of the upcoming musical Tarzan, thought it would be fun for me to fly with the pulleys and wires the actors will use.

Tease photo

Sex trafficking horror stories

Children sold for sex even in Rim Country

The $32 billion business in selling human beings for sex — including children — has even oozed into Rim Country, the Mount Cross Lutheran Church Friendship group learned this week.

Tease photo

PUSD performing better than peer districts

Citing only two deficiencies, the Arizona Auditor General presented Payson Unified School District with an exceptional financial performance audit — according to administration.

Tease photo

Is xylitol too good to be true?

The Healthy Foodie

So, you’ve met the perfect guy. No, I mean he’s so perfect you just know there’s got to be some deep dark secret he’s hiding.

Tease photo

School bus totaled in crash

Track team, staff escape injury

Sitting forlornly in the transportation parking lot, a mangled activities bus awaits a fate far from Payson Unified School District.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

‘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

Tease photo

Lawmakers target Common Core

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

New radio station focus is anti-addiction/violence

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

Teacher shortage hits Rim Country

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

Beer – A health food?

The Healthy Foodie

My editor looked stressed.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

Program offers training for tasty careers

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

Payson Community Garden getting ready to sprout

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

‘Angels all around me ...’

Grand Canyon clouds inspire Pine songwriter

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

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

Culinary Arts students learn how to make healthy tasty

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

Tease photo

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.

Prev