Back to profile

Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

Tease photo

A Monday accident slows traffic through Payson

A little after noon on Monday, Dec. 28, an accident on Hwy. 87 at Frontier Street shut traffic down to one lane causing a traffic jam starting at Bonita Street.

Tease photo

Fun: Gettin’ lost searching for the Dutchman

Driving the Apache Trail and hiking Lost Dutchman State Park

The car sat empty in the parking lot of the Lost Dutchman State Park in the famed Superstitions. “Where are they?” I asked my daughter Brooke, with a twinge of panic at the thought of my parents wandering bewildered among the volcanic spires and violent legends of the Superstitions. “Maybe they got lost,” she shrugged. I sighed. Served us right, this played into the whole day’s theme. My parents, daughters and I had heard of the legend of the Lost Dutchman and his gold mine. We decided to go on a day trip from Payson down the Apache Trail, through Tortilla Flats, to end the day with a hike through the jagged, saguaro-dominated landscape. We wanted to learn about the Lost Dutchman since he is an Arizona legend. The area we traveled covered the old stomping grounds of Jacob Waltz, a German adventurer who sparked a century-long search for gold in the Superstitions.

Tease photo

Snow for the holidays

Get ready to put “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” on a repeat loop — snow should fall for the holiday starting on Thursday and may continue through Saturday.

Tease photo

Allen focuses Rim Country visit with climate change discussion

Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), whose district includes Rim Country, opened her talk to the Payson Tea Party with a salvo against the federal government’s environmental policies that she said threaten jobs in Arizona.

Tease photo

Snow level could drop to 2,000 feet by Friday

States east of the Mississippi won’t see a white Christmas, but Rim Country could.

Tease photo

The Gooches who gave Christmas – all year long

Couple passes along torch for Kaitie’s Closet donations to PADS

Barbara and Jack Gooch have put their heart and soul into Kaitie’s Closet for five years, but it’s time for them slow down.

Tease photo

High school administrator named vice principal of the year

A passing conversation with Payson High School Principal Brian Mabb resulted in a stunning result for vice principal Jeff Simon — the Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

Tease photo

Fun and education run together in Fossil Creek

Outdoor Adventure Club delights in challenging hike to historic, scenic river

For a youngster, hiking the Fossil Creek Trail can be a bit intimidating - and it should be. The trails includes a 1,200 foot elevation change.

Tease photo

It’s a whopper!

Payson Fiesta Bowl float 53 feet long – with three waterfalls

The first float was 16 feet.

Tease photo

Do long prison terms endanger public?

Mandatory sentencing impact debated

Arizona has raided education funding to pay for prisons and created a class of people who cannot rejoin society, all of which has policy makers reconsidering priorities, according to a panel of experts convened recently by the Morrison Institute.

Tease photo

Ditch over-the-counter cold remedies and try a hot toddy

The Healthy Foodie

When my friend Charlotte got the sniffles, she’d always say, “I’m going home tonight to curl up under my covers and drink a hot toddy.”

Tease photo

Storm dumps 6 inches, upends schools

A winter storm dumped six inches of snow on Payson by noon on Monday then after a brief showing of blue sky, resumed in full force as darkness fell.

Tease photo

Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow ...

The sisters, dressed in matching red and white dresses that would make Santa Claus proud, posed sweetly for the sleigh full of pictures by their parents.

Tease photo

’Tis the Credit for Kids season!

It’s that time of year for Credit for Kids, the tax credit Rim Country residents may contribute and take directly off of their state income taxes.

Tease photo

Still things to do on Rim despite the chill

The air sends a chill right through hiking boots, but there is still stuff to do on the Mogollon Rim.

Tease photo

Nonprofits join forces for kids

The Heart of the Holidays

More than a dozen nonprofits worked together on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Nonprofits Coming Together Carnival that helped 58 families bring Christmas cheer into their homes.

Tease photo

PHS students to donate 62 gingerbread houses

After attending a present-wrapping get-together with several nonprofit groups in Payson, culinary arts instructor Richard Erskine decided his students could contribute to the families’ Christmas too.

Tease photo

Electric Light Parade draws 2,500

The 2015 APS Electric Light Parade had 47 entries, the most ever.

Tease photo

A business coach for Rim Country business owners

Deb Rose had a challenge.

Tease photo

Gerardo: Dishing up 15 years of community service

Gerardo Moceri and his wife Maria came to Payson 15 years ago to do something they had not tried — running their own restaurant.

Tease photo

Tribe donates $77,000 to middle school

The Tonto Apache Tribe made another huge investment in the Payson Unified School District with a $77,000 check to support technology.

Tease photo

Payson schools face daunting challenges

The Payson Unified School District may be perched on the edge of disaster, Superintendent Greg Wyman told staff and faculty in two special meetings on Wednesday.

National Scenic Trail passes through Rim Country

North-south state trail passes through Pine, Strawberry and will be finished in time for Arizona Centennial bash

Joe Longbotham, a wiry man with a beard, a twinkle in his eye, a jaunty step and a love of the outdoors, channels the spirit of John Muir. He started hiking four years ago to keep healthy in retirement, then lost 30 pounds hiking more than 500 miles each year. He also got deeply involved in the all-out effort to complete the Arizona National Scenic Trail, which traverses the whole state north to south and passes through Pine and Strawberry. The efforts of a host of volunteers like Longbotham will conclude next year with the completing of the last link in that trail.

Tease photo

Payson’s whimsical western artist inspired by Zane Grey

Down the Street painter’s Rim Country visit changed his life

Growing up amongst the tall buildings and cornfields of Illinois, Conrad Okerwall decided he would paint pictures of the rough wild cowboys and life of the Old West — probably because of his love of Zane Grey novels.

Tease photo

Private prison debate rages on

Do they save money? Violate morality? Endanger public?

Are Arizona taxpayers getting their money’s worth with private prisons?

Tease photo

The truth about the turkey torpor

The Healthy Foodie

My dog, Ginger, sprawled on the floor — head on the floor between her paws, front legs on either side of her ears, eyes rolling to watch me walk back and forth in the kitchen in what looked like utter exhaustion.

Tease photo

A safe place to practice recovery

Don Lees struggled throughout his life.

Tease photo

Middle school musicians win honors

Rim Country Middle School music teacher Daria Mason rounded up 28 band and choir middle school students to perform at the Arizona Music Educators Northeast Region Honor Festival at St. John’s High School on Nov. 18.

Tease photo

Educator’s first lesson involves character

David Callahan now running Payson Community Christian School

David Callahan, the new administrator for the Payson Community Christian School has a cherubic face with eyes that twinkle.

Tease photo

Gold and other treasures: FR 1705

I live with a conundrum. I adore hiking in strange areas, but fear going alone and getting lost or hurt with no one to help me. So for two years, I’ve sat at home staring out longingly at the forest stewing over this dilemma. Then I heard about the Payson Packers. The group meets every Tuesday morning in the Stage parking lot before heading off to hike the hundreds of forest roads, streambeds and trails of the Rim Country.

Tease photo

Empowerment

Judges: We must listen to the victims of violence

In the middle of the night, a woman’s partner cuts off her hair and in a rage stuffs it in her mouth.

Tease photo

Payson High School students need your vote

With just a click of their mouse, Rim Country residents can help Payson High School students eat healthy snacks.

Tease photo

Cooking up a lesson in chemistry

Culinary and science kids team up to devour physics of baking

Measuring, mixing, beating, pouring and baking the Payson High School students used muffins to learn how the leavening chemicals affect the density of the cupcake.

Tease photo

How can you survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

PHS drama students offer helpful hints

The Payson High School Theatre Department performed a public service for the community — instructing everyone how to keep safe from the impending zombie apocalypse.

Tease photo

Crazy drug policy

Are we addicted to incarceration?

The ASU Morrison Institute’s State of the State conference keynote speaker former Police Chief of Mesa and current District Attorney of San Francisco George Gascon believes so.

Tease photo

There’s more than cream in ice cream

The Healthy Foodie

The last time my parents came to visit, my daughter, Crystal, decided we should all have ice cream for dessert.

Tease photo

If you want their attention – gotta leave ’em laughing

This article deserves a hilarious opening, but for me, humor only hurts when I laugh.

Tease photo

Volunteers clean up forest dump site in record time

An intrepid group of 26 volunteers and Forest Service staff met at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 to attack a major dump site off of Graff Road near the Country Club Estates, past the airport.

Tease photo

Few at Common Core sessions

Only Gila County staff and Gail Gorry from the Gila County Superintendent’s Office showed up at Supervisor Tommie Martin’s office to make comments on the Arizona State Education Standards on Wednesday.

Tease photo

New walking group features daily outing

When Mary Mastin wakes up in the morning, what gets her out of bed is knowing somebody will be waiting to take a walk with her.

Tease photo

Unique gifts at GCC art show

Not sure what sort of Christmas present to get your Aunt Bess who has everything?

Tease photo

A family on the edge

Three generations of joyful worriers find their footing on their way to Aztec Peak

I sighed.

Tease photo

Payson’s voter-approved override goes to classrooms

The Payson Unified School District has not wasted the faith and respect shown by Rim Country voters when they supported the override tax — 100 percent of the funds raised have gone to classrooms and salaries, said PUSD Business Manager Kathie Manning.

Tease photo

Girls just gotta have run

On Saturday, Rim Country girls who had worked for weeks with the Girls on the Run program to prepare for a 5K run/walk gathered at Green Valley Park festooned in tutus, crazy socks, ribbons and colored hair to celebrate their girl power.

Tease photo

Waiting for the call

The phone rang.

Tease photo

Veterans Day celebrations abound

JRE students sing and salute

Braving the first really chilly winter day, the Julia Randall Elementary School student body marched over to the memorial at Green Valley Park to honor veterans with song and a flag raising ceremony.

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

Domestic violence hotline in danger

Feds slash funding

All the money spent to fund the 24-hour 7-day-a-week crisis hotline and advocacy functions of the Time Out Shelter might evaporate by Dec. 4.

Tease photo

Oorah

Marines party on 240th birthday

Tim Roemer served in the Marines from 1964 until 1968, seeing tough action in Vietnam during a 14-month stint in an artillery unit.

Tease photo

To meat or not to meat, that is the question ...

The Healthy Foodie

My friend Bear only ate protein. He’d claimed he’d done so since 1959 eschewing any carbohydrates to live only on meat, eggs, butter and cheese.