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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Managed fires, new building codes save lives, water – & forest

Let it burn, baby, burn. That might make a great new Forest Service motto, according to the latest research on managing wildfires.

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Poverty drops, still high in Gila County

The percentage of people living in poverty and the share of the population without medical insurance continues to fall — although it remains far above the national average in Gila County.

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West faces water shortage, but places like Payson may enjoy a vital advantage

Payson got its water just in time. That’s one selfish conclusion Payson boosters could draw from a series of dismaying studies on the water supply in the Colorado River, which provides water for roughly 50 million people and 4 million acres of farmland.

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Marine Corps Birthday

Heroes dwell amongst us still

John Naughton was a gung-ho young Marine Corps sergeant running an artillery unit when the North Vietnamese shells began to rain down on the encircled defenders of Khe Sanh.

Grateful beyond measure

I rise early on deadline day, shower hastily, scrape the ice from the windshield and rush down the hill on Airport Road, having forgotten to write anything for the editorial page last night before dashing off to teach my writing class.

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2016: Sets records as hottest year ever recorded

Average global temperatures are poised to set another record in 2016, including Arizona temperatures 3-4 degrees (F) above the long-term average.

Judges deal blow to firefighter, police pension reform

Efforts to make public safety workers’ pensions solvent without bankrupting cities and counties took a body blow last week

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What you owe the supermoon

I sat and watched the moonrise my father may have seen, out the window of his B-17. The supermoon rose lurid behind the trees.

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Legislature: Nothing changes – except everything

Don’t expect many changes this year when it comes to state policy —but do expect a big difference in relationship with the federal government.

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Tigers thrive in Rim Country

Tiger trout, Rim Country’s latest fishing sensation, are thriving in Woods Canyon Lake.

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Fire managers hobbled by homes

Controlled burns poser trade-offs

Land managers need to burn soon — and often — if they’re going to save the forest and the communities they surround.

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Lawmakers Allen, Thorpe and Barton hang on

Former Jerome Mayor Nikki Bagley pulled ahead of incumbent Sen. Sylvia Allen in early, mail-in voting, but fell short by the time the county elections offices counted all the ballots on Wednesday.

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Tonto Bridge State Park to serve as refuge for monarchs

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will soon have a refuge stopover and breeding ground for migrating Monarch butterflies, thanks to a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) awarded the Southwest Monarch Study based in Chandler.

The case of the perplexed professor

Well, here’s a strange little case. Northern Arizona University forestry professor Stephen Dewhurst sued the U.S. Forest Service for so thoroughly ignoring its own rules in awarding the contract for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative that he can’t possibly explain it to his students.

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Incumbents and longtime residents lead in school board races

Incumbents Barbara Underwood and Shirley Dye appeared to win re-election to the Payson School Board, with newcomer Shane Keith, a 2009 graduate of Payson High School, rounding out the top three finishers, with about two-thirds of the ballots counted.

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Democrats challenging Sen. Allen, Rep. Burton, Rep. Thorpe

Incumbents holding onto seats by razor thin margin

Mail in ballots on Tuesday seemed to give Former Jerome Mayor Nikki Bagley a stunning upset victory of incumbent Sen. Sylvia Allen, the president pro-tem of the Senate and a former Navajo County supervisor.

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Stunning upsets in Gila County supervisors race possible

Republicans make nearly clean sweep

Republicans appeared poised on Tuesday to effectively take over Gila County elective offices, with the apparent re-election of Sheriff Alan Shepherd and the surprising upset of two democratic incumbents on the board of supervisors.

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Voters support Pine Fire District

Measure to raise property taxes ahead by huge margin

Voters in Pine and Strawberry gave strong support for a property tax increase to prevent layoffs at the Pine-Strawberry Fire District.

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‘Kill them with positivity’

Payson lovers last week unleashed a campaign intended to jump-start Payson’s economic recovery with a jolt of positive energy.

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Controlled burn fires protect communities

The Forest Service will burn more than 3,000 acres this week in the Payson and Young ranger districts in an effort to thin dangerously overgrown forests.

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Override money goes to teachers

The Payson Unified School District has spent every penny of a voter-approved, $1.2 million budget override on teachers and classrooms, Finance Director Kathy Manning reported last week.

Mexican gray wolves willing to foster pups born to other wolves in captivity

Mexican gray wolves have proved willing to raise pups born to other parents in captivity and slipped into their dens.

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RCMS honors top scoring students

The Payson School Board celebrated the 63 “highly performing” Rim Country Middle School students, based on scores on the tough AzMERIT test.

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APS will spend $1 million to elect its own regulators

Dark money groups dominate

Arizona Public Service has announced it will spend $1 million to get three Republicans elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission — including Commissioner Bob Burns who has crusaded to force the company to reveal its spending two years ago to elect two of the incumbent commissioners.

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Senate candidates debate health care

Junk it. Fix it. That summarizes the difference between Senator John McCain and challenger Ann Kirkpatrick, in an expensive race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. The two candidates clashed sharply on health care reform, specifically the Affordable Care Act.

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Drip, drip, drip of repairs

Pine water cash flows in then out again

The cash flows in — and out again. The Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District pulls in about $2.6 million a month — but spends about $2.4 million, according to the September monthly financial report presented at this week’s board meeting.

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Green Valley Park eagles delight

The snow (headed) birds have definitely returned to the Green Valley lakes — wide-ranging, migratory bald eagles voting with their wings against a winter in Canada or Alaska.

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Burning the forest to save the forest

A 2.5-degree increase in average temperatures across North America has resulted in an increase in wildfires that consumed an estimated 16,000 square miles of forest, according to the latest effort to tease out the effects of climate change on wildfires.

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Senate race controversy

McCain, Kirkpatrick debate

Sen. John McCain’s defense during a debate with Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of the Senate’s refusal to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy has blown up into a national furor.

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AZ Senate debate turns on Trump

Sen. McCain defends delay in decision to reverse endorsement of Trump

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick has done her best to lash Senator John McCain to Donald Trump’s floundering fortunes, without great success.

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Fall is like life, like love

I stood on a tapestry of maple leaves, saturated, chromatically content. I murmured a little prayer to chlorophyll, sunlight, supernovae and anthocyanin. I’d found my maple grove — and impressed my bride. I had feared I would not find this spot — but now heaved a sign of relief watching her shuffle through the red leaves.

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Students who aced AZMerit test

Payson Unified School District this week honored scores of high school students who aced the AZMerit test, the state’s new, rigorous standards test.

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Forest Service will set thousands of acres on fire

Two new fires will generate smoke, but also forest benefits

Controlled burns from more than 3,000 acres of new fires will generate smoke throughout Rim Country throughout the week of Oct. 17-20, according to Tonto National Forest fire specialists.

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Legislative race centers on support for education

Incumbent Republican representatives Brenda Barton (R-Payson) and Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) this year face a long-shot challenge from a single Democrat — former school superintendent and long-time naval reservist Alex Martinez.

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Allen, Bagley vie for state Senate seat

A chaotic presidential race, a sprinkling of controversies and a strong challenger may this year test Senator Sylvia Allen’s grip on her District 6 seat, which runs from Flagstaff to the Arizona-New Mexico border.

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First Things First cleared

Early childhood program passes audit

Since the inception of First Things First, the percentage of kindergartners with untreated tooth decay has decreased by 8 percent, according to the early childhood organization’s recently published 2016 Annual Report.

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Arizona State has a trout master plan

Where will you be fishing for monster trout?

Native fish. Monster invaders. Even hybrids. Arizona Game and Fish says there’s room for everyone in Arizona’s lakes and streams. Andy Clark, with Arizona Game and Fish’s Coldwater Fisheries division, laid out the master plan last weekend before a meeting of the Payson Flycasters.

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Arizona lawmakers go after towns

A new state law that lets Arizona lawmakers potentially cut off a town’s state-shared gas tax, income tax and sales tax has already spawned several swirls of controversy.

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One more piece in the Fossil Creek puzzle

A crucial 19-acre chunk of land alongside Fossil Creek this week passed into Forest Service hands.

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Quoth the Raven

“Gloock. Glooocch. Glooch,” quote the raven. I didn’t know how to respond. The glossy black raven cocked his head, studying me with raucous skepticism.

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Corporation Commission candidates now acknowledge human link in global warming

A change in the ‘whether’

Republicans running for the Arizona Corporation Commission figure maybe human beings have something to do with the warming trend after all.

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Quick, Payson: Lock your car!

Stop what you’re doing. Get up. Go outside. LOCK YOUR CAR! The Payson Police Department on Friday reported a rash of 21 vehicle burglaries since Sept. 9 — mostly unlocked cars sitting in front of homes and businesses.

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Gene study reveals roots of Native Americans

Native American groups in North and South America are all descended from people who some 23,000 years ago trekked from Asia, through Siberia to the tundra of a now-submerged land bridge, according to genetic studies.

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Arizona’s economy mending, but Gila County lags

County jobless rate still high

Arizona hasn’t regained its pre-recession mojo, but we’re doing better.

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Fallout over uranium

Will mining endanger Grand Canyon?

Many living things readily absorb uranium and pass it up along the food chain, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Service.

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Rim Country streams dwindling toward crisis

Only 10 percent healthy

They’re essential;

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Demographics dominate state school test scores

Family income, race account for most differences

It isn’t the teacher.

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Survey: Arizona abuses its teachers

State ranks 49th when it comes to a teaching career

Arizona ranks as one of the worst states to be a teacher, according to a national study based largely on Census Data by Wallet Hub.

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Forest incidents test patience of rangers

Forest rangers get some pretty strange calls — some tragic, some just, well, strange.

Who really deserves credit?

Half joy, half relief, a dash of sorrow.