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Michele Nelson

Stories by Michele

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Garden of delights

Summer brings bumper crops in Payson Community Garden

It’s July, and the Payson Community Garden has leafed out, while flowers bloom on plants.

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Giving – and receiving in return

It’s a Tuesday and Jim Clayton has on his Forest Service green pants, volunteer shirt and heavy boots to collect trash.

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College ponders how to keep more students

GCC studies free tuition for seniors

The Gila Community College board has decided to research how to find, keep and support students at the community college — even retirees.

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Plans to help Payson Kids Read

The Read On Gila County Stakeholders will hold its quarterly meeting on Friday, July 10 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Payson Library to continue to help children in the County read.

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School tempest

Much ado about curriculum, texts

Three years ago, the Payson Unified School District adopted Beyond Textbooks.

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Slather, slap, slurp & soothe: Saving the skin

The Healthy Foodie

I overdid it on the Fourth of July weekend.

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Visitors leave less trash in the forest

Overall, the July 4 weekend in the forest went pretty well, according to Chris Welker, recreation officer for the Payson Ranger District.

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Payson schools struggle to juggle online classes

Board approves plan to improve completion rate, pay

On June 18, the Payson Unified School District board voted to change the name of Payson Virtual Academy to Payson Center for Success Online.

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Pine wine tasting room open on holiday

There’s a new and fun thing to do in Pine each weekend — wine tasting at the Trident Winery Tasting Room off Hardscrabble Road.

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Storm lashes Rim Country

After the severe thunderstorm on Tuesday, June 30, it didn’t look good for the Fourth of July celebrations, but the National Weather Service predicts only a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms in the evening for Payson’s fireworks show — which could attract as many as 20,000 people, including many fleeing the heat in the Valley.

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Forest Service gears up for another trashy weekend

Volunteers set to remind visitors to Pack It Out

The Forest Service and its volunteers learned a lot from the Memorial Day Pack It Out program — they need much bigger dumpsters.

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Farmers Market Fun

They even play Rock-Paper-Scissors

The kids gathered around Scoops owner, Payson Town Council member and sponsor of the event, Chris Higgins to learn exactly how to beat the competition in the annual Rock-Paper-Scissors contest at the Payson Farmers Market.

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Cool as a cucumber – or at least I tried to be

The Healthy Foodie

Watching the Monster Mudder 5K for the first time in my life, I thought of cucumbers.

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Kinder, gentler school board

‘We’re in transition out of chaos and crisis’

The Payson Unified School District board at its retreat on June 27 admitted the reverberations of the last two years still haunt them, but have faith the new administration is guiding them through the maze firmly and calmly.

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Volunteers rally to help Forest Service protect the forest

Cheerful helpers patrol, make signs, educate and clean up

For Pat Shelton, it started with a skill saw and a bathroom remodel.

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Charter school due

Could impact Payson district

American Leadership Academy, a multi-campus charter school from the Valley, announced it will open a K-12 campus in Payson by 2016, an announcement with potentially serious consequences for the Payson Unified School District.

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Monsoon onset may douse fire risk

The dark clouds can’t be missed and this week saw lightning strikes up near Christopher Creek.

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Community theater group gives ‘Pity Party’

Performing “Pity Party” in the cozy Black Box Theatre behind the Payson High School Auditorium provides a personal feel.

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New AZ director of veterans services visits Payson

Local vets frustrated by lack of advocate

Wanda Wright, the new director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, stopped by Payson June 12 during her statewide tour — and heard an earful.

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New charter school coming to Payson

Rim Country will have a new option for its kindergarten through high school students by August of 2016 - the charter school American Leadership Academy.

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Slew of arrests over weekend

Payson Police arrested 10 people during the third weekend in June.

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Break even budget

With Arizona cutting school budgets, while the governor demands they increase classroom spending, Payson Unified School District came up with a plan: reprioritize.

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Maybe Aussies have it right about beets

The Healthy Foodie

So I’m at a barbecue and my editor grabs a pickled beet to put on his burger.

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Woman rescued

Bystanders race to save woman trapped under car

A piercing scream split the night just as Chelsea Pierson and her friend left Pierson’s grandmother’s house at the end of Longhorn Road at 11 p.m. Sunday.

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New store offers furniture, appliances

Pete and Vicki Allen decided Payson needed a furniture store that fell somewhere between thrift and new – so they started Affordable Furniture and Appliances on Cedar Lane.

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School board debates new version of vision

Do we mostly want “productive citizens”?

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After half a decade, Quilting Sisters closes

Cheryl Dolby and her husband took over the quilting shop five and a half years ago, renaming it Quilting Sisters, but now they have decided it is time to close the doors.

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Payson may revive online classes

But only 25 percent finish

Last year, Payson Unified School District shelved its online school, Payson Virtual Academy. Now, the district wants to resurrect the program.

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Firefighter has his truck stolen at gunpoint

The Facebook rumor mill has spread the story of local Payson Hotshot Charles Corey Baldner-Hathaway’s truck being stolen at gunpoint Sunday evening.

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Lungs involved in losing weight

The Healthy Foodie

I just learned that contrary to what I believe, and about what half the doctors and dietitians believe, the body dumps fat by breathing.

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Payson gains community theatre group

The Rim Country has a choral society and lots of bands, but no community theatre.

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Common Core prompts textbook worries

In a clash between the old and new, the Payson Unified School District board voted on what to do with old, obsolete textbooks and the new online curriculum framework, Beyond Textbooks.

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Good, dirty fun

677 participate in Monster Mudder

The third annual Mogollon Monster Mudder 5K Run started at the parking lot with cars as the contestants.

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Wine of all kinds has healed throughout the ages

The Healthy Foodie

This past weekend, while wandering around Pine covering the Summer Festival and craft fair for the paper, I ran across the new tasting room for Trident Winery.

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Schools struggle to cope with drug use

At recent meetings hosted by the Payson Police Department on the heroin problems in Rim Country, members of the public appealed to the schools to provide a solution.

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A mother triumphs over heroin addiction

It took three weeks to sit down to the interview with Lindsey, but any working mother would understand the reasons — a sick child, a forgotten doctor’s appointment, a call to cover a shift.

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Payson FFA racks up awards at state conference

Small, but mighty would serve as a motto for Payson High School’s FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) program.

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Chopper saves hiker

Man lost for days without food or water

On Tuesday, June 2, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Public Safety collaborated to rescue a 58-year-old Tucson man who had survived three days without water on the Arizona Trail.

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Fire restrictions imposed

Despite rain, dry fuels spur ban on smoking and fires

So it begins.

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Blustery storm drops tree on Star Valley house

Normally bone-dry June brings rain, wind

A rare, cold June storm blew into Rim Country on Thursday, surprising residents and sending at least one tree crashing into the roof of a Star Valley home.

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PUSD board grapples with foreign exchange student tuition

Each year, the Payson Unified School District board mulls over what to do with foreign exchange students — this year, the discussion fell on May 26.

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From father to son and back again — Lowery’s

Window and door shop in second generation of family ownership

Sitting on a counter in the Lowery’s showroom is a picture of a tow-headed little boy looking out the window of a pickup truck.

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Trust + leadership = life-changing event

Kaycee Simpson admits it takes her awhile to learn to trust someone.

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Now, that’s talent

Twenty-one acts took to the gym floor at Julia Randall Elementary the last day of school to celebrate the talent of the student body.

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Homeless, displaced youngsters need a helping hand

Donations key to children’s success

Alarmed by the rising number of teens without enough support to finish their schooling, a collaboration of church leaders and caring Rim Country community members joined together in 2009 to create Payson Assisting Displaced Students.

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Lowly cabbage has many health benefits

The Healthy Foodie

My grandma loved cooking Czech food — kolaches, pork chops, and potatoes of all kinds, but the dish that takes me back to being with her has to be sweet and sour cabbage with dumplings.

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Pain, grief surge after manslaughter conviction

It took the jury in the Mike Voden trial a little more than four hours to come back with their verdict: guilty of manslaughter.

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Humane Society executive director says a fond farewell

After five years of serving the animals and people of Rim Country, Sarah Hock, executive director of the Humane Society of Central Arizona will step down to work with PetSmart Charities in Phoenix.

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Wet May dampens high risk, but hot spell now setting in

Well, it’s arrived — the hot, dry weather that heralds the beginning of the wildfire season.

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Six foods studies say make you happier

The Healthy Foodie

I’m a foodie. Food makes me happy.