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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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.

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Endangered chubs roil the waters

Push to merge three fish species into one provokes loud protest

A chub, by any other name, would be what exactly?

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Residents grapple with Tonto Forest’s plan

A forest on the edge

About 40 Rim Country residents last week puzzled their way through an attempt to explain the enormous complexity and impact of the Tonto National Forest’s effort to overhaul it’s plan to manage 3 million acres of drought-plagued, insect-tormented, loved-to-death forest.

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State’s teacher shortage slides toward crisis

Payson filled its slots, but 2,000 jobs remain vacant

The Payson Unified School District managed to fill all its empty teaching positions this year.

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Still burning

Firefighters completed burnout operations for the 2,266-acre Fulton Fire, burning just below the Rim.

Pine Strawberry water board wades through complaints

Water leaks, outages rile speakers at PSWID meeting

The Pine Strawberry water board meeting last week turned into an hours-long effort to handle disputes about leaks, outages, sodden washes harboring mosquitoes and other issues.

Rumsey thinning will slash fire risk

Payson Town Council approves $19,000 project

Rumsey Park is due for a haircut. Maybe a buzz cut. The Payson Town Council this week approved a proposed $19,000 project to thin the trees and brush in Rumsey Park to reduce fire danger.

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APS rejects request for disclosure of political spending records

The empire strikes back

Arizona Public Service not only rejected an Arizona Corporation commissioner’s request to look at the company’s records, it has now filed suit to recover legal fees related to that request.

Improvement district will clear way for 150-home project near Walmart in Payson

Payson took the first step toward setting up an improvement district to provide roads and infrastructure for a proposed subdivision on West Rumsey Drive, near Walmart.

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Council approves $116,000 increase in contract for the C.C. Cragin pipeline

The Payson Town Council this week approved a $116,000 add-on to the contract for the C.C. Cragin pipeline to account for the stretched-out construction schedule.

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Water board rebuffs ex board member

Realtor Ray Pugel wanted $2,300 reduction in his bill

The Pine Strawberry water board last week rejected Realtor Ray Pugel’s effort to cut his water bill by about $2,300.

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Rim Country firefighters set backfires

Wildfires burning across Rim Country continue to alarm many residents, while dramatizing the shift in the Forest Service approach to managing fire.

Almost all PUSD teachers will qualify for 'Merit Pay' bonus

Almost all of the teachers in the Payson Unified School District can expect to get a roughly $2,500 “merit pay” boost this year, under the formula approved last week by the Payson School Board.

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Lawmakers score poorly on schools

Rim Country’s state representatives fared poorly when it comes to support for public education in a report released by education advocacy groups.

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Lightning caused Fulton Fire caused alarm in Rim Country this weekend

The lightning-caused Fulton Fire this week continued to cause problems for people driving on Highway 260, 25 miles east of Payson, and alarm Rim Country residents as a result of widespread smoke.

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Aspire Arizona covered tuition for 100 Payson students

Donations top $50,000 to help teens in Payson High School get college credit

So far, 100 Payson High School students have received free or nearly free college classes — thanks to an innovative partnership involving Payson Unified School District, Gila Community College and the Aspire Arizona Foundation.

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Scores plunge in high school

AzMERIT: Good, band & UGLY

Happy glimmers of good news for the Payson Unified School District gleam in the latest AzMERIT test scores.

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Get ready for winter! (or at least fall)

Roundup editor Peter Aleshire took this picture of the Rim in snow last winter.

We added to her anguish

Vera Eccles came by the office this week, very upset. She’d suffered a terrible trauma — and we made it worse.

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Climate change: The timer on the bomb for Arizona State's forests

The forests of Northern Arizona remain dreadfully vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to the just-released draft of an overhaul of the Tonto National Forest’s master plan.

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See and be seen at Gila County Fair

The Northern Gila County Fair this weekend showcased crafts, art and prizewinning steers, goats, pigs and lord knows what all. For more on the county fair, see Friday’s Roundup.

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The Perseid meteor shower - a hurdle of wonders

We shuffled into the backyard with a beach towel and sleepy expectations, hours of deep dark from the dawn.

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Weird weather reported worldwide

Hot, wet, weird year — all across the country. Rim Country enjoyed one of its wettest monsoons on record, although the forecast calls for things to dry out for the rest of the week — with highs around 80.

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Arizona’s bald eagles set a new population record this year

Arizona’s bald eagles set a new population record this year with 65 pairs of eagles producing 78 chicks. The unique population of desert-nesting eagles has steadily expanded its nesting areas in the past 20 years, despite the removal of endangered species protection several years ago.

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Payson Students' scores rise, but still bleak

Payson students making gains but still lag behind

Payson students have made solid progress in math, English and science, but still often lag behind the state average, according to the latest AzMERIT test scores.