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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Warming will have big impact on Rim Country forests

A mounting tally of studies have cast doubt on the hope that forests can buffer climate change. In fact, forests may actually exaggerate the impact of a steady rise in temperatures.

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Nutrition education lagging

Payson gets mixed grade for meeting state, federal mandates

The Payson Unified School District still has a long way to go when it comes to meeting federal nutrition and exercise guidelines, Payson Elementary School physical education teacher Judy Perham told the school board Monday.

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Thumbs up for new school test

Skeptical Payson board member ‘very impressed’

The new standardized test that has spawned a year of furor and controversy got a surprisingly positive review on Monday from Payson School Board member Shirley Dye.

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Officials demand backup after cable severed

‘It’s just unacceptable’ says Payson mayor of outage, lack of response

Goaded by the third communications blackout in a year, Payson Mayor Kenny Evans is pushing for a backup, high-speed cellphone and Internet connection.

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APS backs off

Controversy continues to beset state’s Corporation Commission

Arizona Public Service has decided to drop its bid to triple the monthly fee for customers with solar power, capping months of controversy and accusations of conflict of interest that have swirled around the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates the state’s utilities.

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Bitter school funding debate swirls

Inflation adjustment, state trust lands provoke divisions

The high-stakes issue of school funding continues to roil state officials, thanks to a $1.3 billion court judgment, contending reform plans and bitter feuds involving top state officials.

The secret to being the Best Newspaper

The man who deserved the award didn’t get his name on the plaque.

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Fossil Creek plan unveiled

Interim plan would impose entry fee, require reservations to protect stream

If you want to visit Fossil Creek next summer — you’ll need to make a reservation and shell out $10.

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We want you to enjoy our outdoor paradise

It’s the sunsets.

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But can chickens stay in RVs?

No one’s crying fowl

The Payson Planning and Zoning Commission Monday said yes to backyard hens, but no to housing guests in recreational vehicles.

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Rim Country’s congressman snubs Pope

Rep. Gosar boycotts speech, citing global warming debate

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) drew national attention this week when he boycotted Pope Francis’ address to Congress, saying he objected to the Pope’s stand on climate change.

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Land sale: ‘two weeks’

University backers still negotiating deal with ASU, developer, finanicers

Tonto National Forest can likely complete the $4.1 million sale of land for a university site in Payson within “two weeks,” said Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth.

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Should US expand national monuments?

Rim Country's state representdative in fierced opposition

Rep. Bob Thorpe wants voters to rally against formation of two new national monuments — one near Sedona and the other near the Grand Canyon.

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Canyon de Chelly’s Walk in Beauty

Death has put its heavy hand on this place.

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Saving lives

Study: Fire codes work

Firefighters can accurately assess the vulnerability of structures to wildfires, which can save firefighters in a crisis by telling which homes they should try to save, according to a new study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Forest Service.

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A glimpse behind the scenes

Screening, discussion focus on documentary depicting Arizona’s most lethal gunfight

The fatal moment remains shrouded in mystery.

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Averting Disaster

Study proves value of thinning projects as California goes up in flames

Thinning treatments can save forested communities, even when the treatment leaves behind dense areas for wildlife, according to a comprehensive study of the effects of the two biggest wildfires in Arizona history.

The editor responds

I get it.

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Fair celebrates region’s roots

Dallon Stockton sat happily on the back of 1,100-pound Fireball, the two of them a happy pair of Northern Gila County Fair Showmanship Grand Champions.

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Lawmaker decries plan for monuments

Rep. Thorpe fighting Sedona, Grand Canyon proposals

Rep. Bob Thorpe last week came to Payson to urge voters to rally against formation of two new national monuments — one near Sedona and the other near the Grand Canyon.

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County battling prescription drug overdose epidemic

Gila County will get some $500,000 from the federal government to reduce the inexorable rise in deaths due to overdoses of prescription drugs.

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Film depicts violent tragedy

Documentary showing at the Sawmill dwells on Arizona’s most deadly gunfight

A bloody shootout.

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Rim Country boasts some of the most diverse and healthy riparian areas in the state.

Take a hike along one of region's streams

Rim Country boasts some of the most diverse and healthy riparian areas in the state. That includes miles of gloriously intact cottonwood and willow habitat along the banks of the East Verde River, just outside of Payson.

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Watching wildlife: Hummingbird frenzy

Hummingbirds mob feeders on their migrations

The battle rages. # I blame the rufous hummingbird — plucky little bully. # He’s buzzing the poor Anna’s hummingbird every time she gets near the feeder. # Ah, now, here’s a ruby-throated hummer. Maybe he’ll ... # Nope, still getting chased off by the rufous. # I’ve got about 100 reasons I never want to live anywhere but Payson — specifically overlooking the East Verde River. Hummingbirds consistently place in the top 25 on that list.

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Wow. What a Weekend!

Whoa. Dude.

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Cut costs, save lives

Studies show telemedicine improves outcomes

Evidence continues to mount that telemedicine systems that allow consultations through video hookups and data links in rural hospitals both improve outcomes — and save money.

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Learning to live with fire

Communities like Payson must find a way to live with wildfire by changing land use patterns and adopting new building codes, according to a study by an international team of experts published in the scientific journal Nature.

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Tonto Natural Bridge brings community together

Backers help keep state park open

The world’s largest natural travertine bridge represents Rim Country’s best-known tourist attraction — but it has also offered a heartening example of how a community and the State Parks can join forces to protect a natural treasure.

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Tonto National Monument holds key to ancient mystery

Builders vanished centuries ago

Just 60 miles outside of Payson, the dozing ruins of Tonto National Monument have lately yielded fresh clues to an ancient mystery. The 1,100-acre monument centered on two sets of well-preserved cliff dwellings have lately inspired new research, particularly in light of the discovery of 3,000- to 8,000-year-old spear points and other artifacts at a site overlooking Roosevelt Lake. Drawn by a spring that still lurks beneath the surface, ancient hunters regularly occupied the site over the course of millennia.

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Schools rating low

Near bottom on spending, quality

Arizona school kids face the worst of both worlds — low state spending on schools and poor results.

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Disaster's aftermath

Flagstaff acts, Payson dawdles

Traumatized by the lethal environmental effects of the Schultz Fire, Flagstaff continues to set the pace for a community response to wildfire.

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Hummingbird wars

The battle rages.

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Rim Country has some of the state’s most diverse and productive riparian areas

Rim Country boasts some of the most diverse and healthy riparian areas in the state. That includes miles of gloriously intact cottonwood and willow habitat along the banks of the East Verde River, just outside of Payson.

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The return of a native to Haigler Creek in Rim Country

If you want to hook a wary, wild German brown trout, head for Haigler Creek, off Colcord Road. But hurry: In another couple of years, the creek may harbor an even rarer treat for anglers — a reintroduced population of endangered, native Gila trout.

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The view from the Mogollon Rim

The Mogollon Rim puts the world back in proper perspective, with the wind rushing past and the view extending for 100 miles. The wind whispers of vanished worlds and sudden death — as well as the stubborn persistence of life.

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The East Verde River harbors lots of trout-stocked fishing holes

I tore myself loose late, knowing I’d never make it to Whispering Pines where I’d promised faithfully to meet Jack Kearns, a genial, quietly enthusiastic, endlessly good-humored retired utility company crew chief who now lives to fish.

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School board: Show us the receipt!

Teachers on trips still must submit the itemized details

Teachers taking students on education trips shouldn’t have to pay for hotel rooms out of their own pocket. On the other hand, they better bring back an itemized receipt if they want breakfast.

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Lawmaker’s AHCCCS suit rebuffed

Lawmakers seeking to reverse the expansion of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System suffered another setback in court this week.

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School inflation negotiations fail

But lawmakers propose plan to boost K-12 spending

School districts will go back to court in an attempt to force state lawmakers to pay some $1.3 billion in illegally withheld inflation funding after negotiations on a settlement broke down this week.

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Sale gets go-ahead

Archaeologists clear way for university site

The Forest Service can go ahead and sell a 253-acre parcel for a university, but Payson should avoid building on three archaeological sites, concluded a preliminary study.

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Payson enrollment still on the rise

Growth in upper grades suggests students returning

The Payson Unified School District got more good news this week as this semester’s enrollment figures grew.

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Arrest in 37-year-old murder

Daughter of former Payson couple shot in 1978

For 37 years, the murder of their daughter remained an agonizing mystery.

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Forest restoration contractor bedeviled by breakdowns

But vital forest thinning projects finally underway

Good Earth Power Arizona (GEPAZ) has finally started cutting and processing trees in its Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) contract, but remains bedeviled by breakdowns and skepticism.

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APS wants to slash solar energy incentives

Corporation commission approval spawns controversy

Although Arizona faces a federal mandate to cut the use of coal-fired power plants, homeowners will face sharply higher costs if they go solar — thanks to new fees on rooftop solar systems imposed by Arizona Public Service and the Salt River Project.

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Rim Country cool

Payson avoids record heat

Rim Country continues to enjoy a more-or-less average year, with a mild fire season, normal rainfall and predictions of a wetter-than average winter.

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Forests affect climate

Studies show forests have greater impact than scientists realized

Forests have a much greater impact on global climate than scientists realized, according to a series of recent studies.

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Taking flight

Bald eagle population records record growth

Arizona’s unique population of desert-nesting bald eagles continues to delight and surprise researchers — steadily expanding their range and producing more and more gangly fledglings.

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Wait times drop

Banner builds up staff, slashes long ER waiting room delays

Emergency room waiting times have been cut in half in the past two weeks, according to Mike Herring, chief nursing officer for Banner Payson Medical Center.