Barton, Thorpe decry federal controls, rules
The top priority for the two state House representatives who represent Rim Country remains battling the federal government — especially when it comes to taking control of federal lands, rolling back the expansion of health care and battling environmental regulations.
Charges could double at many sites to cover costs
Tonto National Forest wants to substantially increase its fees for many campgrounds and boat ramps, but lower the cost of an annual pass from $95 to $80.
The Tonto National Forest’s long-awaited effort to limit off-road travel to protect the forest has provoked a hornet swarm of criticism.
Arizona Corporation Commission candidate decries EPA targets
A Republican candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission in Payson last week joined a chorus of opposition to federal rules intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52 percent in Arizona in the next 15 years.
$4.1 million for Forest Service parcel
An independent appraiser put the price of a 253-acre Forest Service site for a planned 6,000-student university at just $4.1 million — well below expectations.
Corporation commission candidate Doug Little grilled by local Tea Party
The issue of campaign “dark money” overshadowed Arizona Corporation Commission Doug Little’s appearance recently before the Payson Tea Party.
Last week’s predicted big storm from the remnants of a hurricane veered off into New Mexico before delivering the predicted deluge in Rim Country.
Two polished and articulate candidates clashed in a gaff-free governor’s debate last week, revealing sharp differences — especially when it comes to education.
Lights Out had had enough. He kicked the plywood chute, making it thunder.
Heavy rains expected tonight, tomorrow
Heavy rain on near Beaver Valley on Wednesday afternoon once more flood portions of Houston Mesa Road, forcing a temporary closure as Gila County road crews cleared the flood of dirt and rocks.
Allen crusades for Senate seat
State Senate candidate Sylvia Allen brought to Rim Country last week her hastily assembled campaign to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Chester Crandell in a fall from a horse just before the Republican primary.
A long ways from Leupp perched on the edge of Water Dropping Down
We missed it.
Forest Service appraisal near, sites compared
The Rim Country Educational Alliance board and Arizona State University are pondering a detailed cost analysis of four sites for a university campus in Payson.
Buoyed by its success in keeping a Dollar General store out of Pine, a coalition of businesses has launched an all-out effort to find out what kinds of businesses people in the community do want.
Republican Allen faces Independent O’Halleran
Republican Precinct Committeemen of Legislative District Six this weekend picked Navajo County Supervisor Sylvia Allen to appear on the general election ballot as the Republican nominee to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the Aug. 12 death of Senator Chester Crandell, who died as a result of a fall from a horse.
The soot from a dramatic increase in wildfires poses a much greater risk to human health — and the planet — than scientists thought.
Proposed revised plan for wolves controversial
There’s an old saying when it comes to newspapering that if everyone’s mad at you, then you must be doing something right.
Despite problems, master plan shows enough water for future build-out
Remarkably enough, Pine and Strawberry have nearly enough water capacity to support a build-out population of more than 13,000, according to a long-awaited water infrastructure master plan prepared by engineers from CH2M Hill.
A fresh court ruling has put a potentially divisive election issue on the front burner.
Late ballots have limited impact
Payson council candidates Chris Higgins and Bob Lockhart appear headed for a runoff election in November, according to the count of 2,800 mail-in ballots released Friday afternoon by the Gila County Elections Department.
Mishaps, water quality, leaky lines dominate maintenance report
Keep on scrambling ... but watch the wires.
The Payson School Board this week indefinitely postponed a proposal to hire a private firm to update and maintain the district’s capital improvement plan.
The Payson School Board agreed to crack down on a once open-ended meeting style, which included few rules on when people in the audience could chime in.
Saving the Blue Ridge Reservoir watershed
An all-star cast gathered in Payson Wednesday to sign an agreement to protect the watershed of the Blue Ridge Reservoir in a sweeping measure participants believe will serve as a national model.
Worried about people bullying your kid at school?
Mayor Evans at 54 percent, but Roberson not conceding
A sometimes-tough Payson mayoral campaign ended this week, but the bruises will likely remain.
Primary campaigns a warmup for general election struggle
A brutal Republican primary full of upsets, dark money and controversy pivoted sharply this week to a more familiar, but equally bitter partisan struggle for the whole array of statewide offices.
Payson Town Attorney headed for superior court
Payson Town Attorney Tim Wright appeared headed to an easy win in his campaign for a Gila County Superior Court judgeship.
Water board approves free meters
The new Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District board last week managed to conclude some painful old business last week with a split vote — but none of the bitterness that has bedeviled that district in recent years.
Former senator running as an Independent in hopes of shaking up establishment
Former Sen. Tom O’Halleran believes in old-fashioned politics — where you knock on doors to get elected, then actually solve problems when you get into office.
Does Evans do too much – or not enough?
He hasn’t done enough. And he’s a micromanager. Sometimes, you just can’t win — especially during an election.
Alliance to decide next month on where to build university
The Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) board hopes to pick a site for a university at a scheduled Sept. 18 meeting, said board chairman Steve Drury.
Navajo County Supervisor and former state senator Sylvia Allen has emerged as the leading candidate to run for the state senate seat left vacant after the accidental death of Sen. Chester Crandell.
Republican primary for state superintendent seat focused on flip-flops, Common Core
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal continues to wage a confusing and controversial struggle to keep his job against a fierce primary challenge that turns on his on-again-off-again-on-again support for the adoption of federal academic standards and assessments.
The death of state Sen. Chester Crandell last week threw the already unusual race in the district that includes Northern Gila County into deep uncertainty.
The normally quiet secretary of state race has gotten unexpectedly controversial — and personal this year.
Beset by legal and personal troubles, Attorney General Tom Horne has waged a dogged struggle to keep his job in the Republican primary against former state gaming director Mark Brnovich.
The struggle between Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and challenger Randy Roberson after months of wounding accusation and indignant response has increasingly become a struggle almost Shakespearean — even biblical. It’s a wrenching tale of envy and ego — great strengths turned somehow to weakness.
Mourners will gather on Saturday to “say goodbye friend and a great Arizonan” at the funeral in Heber for Sen. Chester Crandell, who died this weekend as a result of a fall from a horse.
Six Republicans with diverse views and experience vie for nomination in governor’s race, as negative attacks and outside money dominate debate
An avalanche of TV commercials in the Valley many of them funded by undisclosed outside interests has finally allowed state treasurer Doug Ducey and former Go-Daddy executive Christine Jones to break out of the six tightly bunched contenders for the Republican nomination for governor.
The former head of the Arizona Board of Regents and longtime political fixer and consultant also worked in the Bill Clinton White House. He has run up the middle in his positions so far, sharply criticizing the Obama administration for the unexpected crisis caused by the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied children from South America and calling for targeted tax cuts to attract high-tech businesses.
Heavy spending and outside groups help treasurer move into lead
Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey has finally shot out ahead in the crowded Republican governor’s race like a bright red skeet — and you can hear the shotguns blasting away.
A persistent friend, a trickle of a river and a perfect day
If I’d had Jack’s phone number, I surely would have canceled. Dude, I’m way too busy to go fishing at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon — with the rodeo tab and the election tab and Lord knows what all to do.
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee recently approved a bill by U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar to put a temporary halt to the closure of any more federally operated fish hatcheries.
Revised plan still creates staging areas for ORVs, bars stream camping
The Tonto National Forest has abandoned a controversial proposal to convert the Houston Mesa Horse Camp into a camp for off-roaders.
Payson mayor stresses complexity, challenger criticizes delay
Payson’s painfully slow, but careful consideration of a wildfire-adapted building code has been doused as an election issue by the vigorous debate about water policy — but it still draws a contrast between the two candidates for mayor.
The state auditor general’s office has asked the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District for a host of documents in connection with the peculiar way the district bought and installed 13 generators for well pumps in 2011.
Turns out, most campaign signs in town ‘illegal’
Last week’s flap over an independent group’s campaign signs had a surprising result: Turns out, virtually every campaign sign in town is illegal.
SRP predicts winter will refill it
The Salt River Project last week shut down the Blue Ridge pipeline’s discharge into the East Verde River weeks early after virtually emptying the reservoir.
The Payson Town Council last week took the first step toward annexing an 80-acre parcel for a light industrial park, despite the qualms of residents who spoke.