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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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GCC solar: Maybe it’s a good thing it’s not up yet

At its meeting on Oct. 16, the Gila Community College board heard a familiar promise about its supposedly glittering solar future: “SunRenu promises construction will begin in 30 days,” said John Zilisch, GCC board member.

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Payson band wows judges

The Pride of Payson Marching Band scored the most points it has ever received in competition this year and took home three caption awards during the Northern Arizona University Band Day Saturday.

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Flu season already gets scary

A trip to Colorado gave a Payson family an enterovirus scare when their daughter fell suddenly ill with a fast-moving respiratory illness during fall break.

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Losing weight could save you from cancer

The Healthy Foodie

“What flax oil tastes the best?” asked the befuddled customer in the health care store, in the aisle where rumor, strange fads and good intention run head-on into overwhelming choices.

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Superintendent race boils down to one issue – or does it?

Garcia-Douglas confrontation spurs some surprising endorsements

Diane Douglas, the Republican candidate for State Superintendent, has one issue: abolishing Common Core in Arizona. David Garcia, the Democratic candidate, speaks on many issues: restoring education funding, filling empty teaching positions, improving outcome measures and addressing achievement gaps.

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Genial Payson School Board race poses stark choices

The Payson Unified School District Board race, pits Sheila DeSchaaf, a town planner, Angie Prock, an occupational therapist, and Darlene Younker, a retired facilities manager, against each other for two seats.

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Override boosts local economy

The $14.6 million Payson Unified School District maintenance and operations (M&O) budget buoys the local economy by employing 300 people who buy and rent homes, spend on local supplies, health care and construction, and purchase food at regional restaurants and stores.

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New ACC dust-up

Elections commission probes possible violations by candidates

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (ACCEC) is considering a full investigation into the Arizona Corporation Commission campaigns of Tom Forese and Doug Little.

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‘Outsiders’ touches the heart

PHS thespians deliver strong performances

Sniffles erupted as the curtain fell on the Payson High School Theatre production of “The Outsiders.”

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Longhorn band qualifies for state finals

Pride of Payson’s 40-hour weeks pay off with victory

The Pride of Payson Marching Band’s run of 40-hour practice weeks paid off this weekend with a win at a regional competition that will earn Payson a chance to compete at the state festival in November.

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Chicken soup: Tastes like love in a bowl

The Healthy Foodie

I’ve always thought of chicken soup as a bowl of healing love.

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PUSD could save taxpayers money with bond

Board hears how restructuring may lower interest rate

The stars could be aligned to save taxpayers in the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) money.

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ACC candidate has eye on the future

Jim Holway, candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) board, would like voters to think about two things when they see his name: investing in the future of Arizona and finding common ground — two areas Holway spent his career building.

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Students beg candidates to support ‘extras’ to boost spirit

Contenders differ on override, Common Core

Still awash in the glow of Homecoming festivities, Payson students who sponsored a school board candidate debate pleaded with the contenders to keep school spirit alive and spread it throughout the community.

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Board debates young staff driver policy

Fearing drivers under 21 years old lack the experience to safely drive students in school vehicles, the Payson Unified School District Board (PUSD) debated changing its policy.

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Pride of Payson marching band first in competition

Taking first place in Division III at the Prescott Invitational, the Pride of Payson swept just about all of the caption awards, too.

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It’s great to be a Longhorn

The Disney spirit of fun and pride permeated every bit of Homecoming Week, culminating in a football game win.

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PUSD candidates contend

Two Payson school forums this week

Two seats — three candidates — for the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) Board.

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Dissecting the lines that separate us

PHS to present teen angst classic ‘The Outsiders’

“The Outsiders” play has sat on a shelf in the Payson High School (PHS) theatre department until just the right cast came along.

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PES a bright spot on test scores

The students at Payson Ele­mentary School (PES) scored higher in math, while holding steady in language scores this past year on the Stanford 10 test.

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Good news for kids

Grant to help homeless students

Payson Unified School District (PUSD) will receive $60,000 for the next three years to help homeless students prepare for college and careers after high school.

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Homecoming parade gets town ready for tonight's football game

Longhorns host Fountain Hills at 7 p.m. Friday

Friday morning's Payson High School homecoming parade kicked off a big day

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Despite wet weekend, fiddlers reign supreme

Some incredibly talented kids stole the show at the 44th anniversary of Old Time Fiddlin’ Contest on Sunday, Sept 28.

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All Shook Up: Choosing the right salt as difficult as choosing the right underwear

The Healthy Foodie

I’m standing in the grocery store looking at the wide range of salts on the shelf: pink Himalayan, black Hawaiian sea salt, Fleur de Sel, grey salt.

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Agony of defeat

Override failure would cause loss of 15% of teachers

If the override extension fails, 15 percent of Payson Unified School District (PUSD) teachers could lose their jobs. Each school site would be affected.

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Return of the huggable pine trees

The Fiesta Bowl Parade Committee specifically asked for the trees — so Cameron Davis, Payson Parks and Recreation director, said he would deliver.

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Upping the spirit game for Homecoming Week

The student council (STUGO) huddled in sponsor Anna Van Zile’s room, planning every detail of a Homecoming Week celebration designed to bust out all over with spirit.

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Middle school mentors make all the difference

Forty-two eighth-grade students have volunteered to make Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) a warmer, fuzzier, more comfortable place for incoming sixth-grade students.

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GEAR UP grant back

Payson Schools Superintendent Greg Wyman received the call before the Sept. 22 board meeting —the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP grant is back on.

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Override loss may threaten ‘extras’

A mounting body of research shows that extracurricular activities can significantly boost student achievement, but many Payson programs may wind up on the chopping block if voters reject continuing a 10 percent budget override.

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Don’t toss that pigweed!

The Healthy Foodie

Turns out, one of the first crops I accidentally managed to grow on my Community Garden plot was pigweed.

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School AIMS scores drop in 3rd-5th grade

Volatile student test scores dropped at Julia Randall Elementary (JRE) from last year, perhaps reflecting administrative upheaval.

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Schools turn to community

Override failure may force cuts

With a yes vote on the Payson Unified School District override in November, Rim Country residents can offer direct support to local teachers.

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Vocational program ready

College cosmetology building nearly done

Gila Community College (GCC) has just put the finishing touches on the cosmetology building and hired an instructor.

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Back to school

Parent: ‘This was amazing’

Dozens of concerned parents, grandparents, caregivers and community members gave up their Saturday morning to find out about their student’s homework, well-being and how the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) works.

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Outpouring of grief and support

Coming together for beloved librarian

Only in Payson would the community rally in less than 24 hours to mourn and honor a friend and teacher. But the students of Payson Unified School District did just that to honor Julia Randall Elementary School (JRE) Librarian Joanne Clawson after she passed away at her home on Sept. 11 after a five-year battle with breast cancer.

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Added deluge due

Monday went from sunny and bright to gloomy and thunderous by the afternoon.

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More to squash than Thanksgiving dinner

The Healthy Foodie

I bought one butternut squash plant.

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High school library hopes to upgrade 1986 book collection

Michele Davidson, the Payson High School (PHS) librarian, hopes the community will help the PHS library purchase new books through an online fundraising push from Sept. 15 to Oct. 10.

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Banners boost spirits

Turning onto Longhorn Road from Highway 87, you can’t miss them: Bright, shiny faces of Payson High School students from the football and volleyball teams and cheerleading squad peer out from purple banners emblazoned with the Longhorn logo, and the saying “Spark the Future.”

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Payson schools honor teacher at football game

JRE librarian dies after long struggle with cancer

Joanne Clawson, the much beloved Julia Randall Elementary (JRE) Librarian lost her years-long battle with breast cancer suddenly on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 11. The Payson High School football team will honor her at the football game to night, in hopes of raising money to help her family.

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Volunteers work to keep forest beautiful

A group of the intrepid and dedicated Forest Service volunteers spent a day at the trail entrance to See Canyon building a barrier to keep vehicles from clogging the entrance.

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Somber remembrance ceremony at PHS for 9/11

Before the doors opened Thursday for classes at Payson High School, a somber remembrance ceremony for Sept. 11 drew first responders, school officials, staff, the Pride of Payson Band and students to the flagpole.

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Bomb threat closes courthouse Friday

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office cleared out the Payson courthouse at 3 p.m. Friday due to a bomb threat.

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Hog heaven for livestock lovers

The 60th Annual Northern Gila County Fair filled the Payson Event Center with good, old-fashioned local pride.

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More rate increases

Tonto Basin water rates could double

Residents surrounding Roose­velt Lake: Prepare to see your water rates double.

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A banana (and more) a day could keep stroke away

The Healthy Foodie

I just learned today that the banana I throw into my morning super smoothie could save my life!

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Phoenix floods, Payson pitters

After waiting all weekend for rain predicted from the tropical storm Norbert, the storm hit early Monday morning.

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Three women hope to serve on Payson School Board

The following story profiles the three candidates vying for seats on the Payson School Board.

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First bill for PWC customers could be high

Payson Water Company (PWC) customers could have been overcharged for water on their June/July bill.