Confusing process leaves officials scrambling to assess the impacts
State and local officials continued to scramble this week to crank out lists of winners and losers in the wake of the adoption of an $8.8 billion state budget after months of deadlock and days of outrage and trauma.
Rim Country faces another windy week of hot, dry conditions with no hint of the fire-quenching monsoons in sight.
A Tucson jury this week convicted former Congressman Rick Renzi of 17 felonies related to his involvement in federal land swaps and sales that ended up benefiting contributors and business associates.
House adopts $8.8 billion plan despite Republican outrage
A bipartisan coalition of nine Republicans and 24 Democrats adopted Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget in an all-night session on Wednesday.
Payson’s economy continues to lag well behind the state and the nation, according to the May financial tracking report released by the town.
The slimy, invading, prolific, fast-growing gizzard shad have taken over Roosevelt Lake.
Gov. Jan Brewer proposed a state budget back in January. The state Senate approved a modestly trimmed version of that budget two weeks ago.
The U.S. Forest Service is bracing for another rough wildfire year throughout the West, with strict fire restrictions already in place in the Tonto, Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests.
State Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) has blasted the latest effort to expand Petrified Forest National Park by buying thousands of acres of potentially fossil-rich land.
Arizona Game and Fish game wardens won’t have to enforce federal restrictions on off-road travel if Gov. Jan Brewer signs a strike-all bill ushered through the Legislature by Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber), who represents Rim Country.
Rep. Gosar: ‘We all want blood’ in response to IRS, state department controversies
Republican Rep. Paul Gosar gleefully hailed the accumulation of political controversies surrounding the Obama Administration as the key to winning control of Congress in 2014, at a speech before a supportive crowd at a Payson Tea Party meeting.
Rep. Paul Gosar last week warned a jam-packed Payson Tea Party gathering that the nation is headed for financial disaster by not controlling the federal debt and the cost of Medicare and Social Security.
No wonder we’re hurting. The consultant’s report prepared for the overhaul of Payson’s General Plan has finally put numbers to the region’s economic struggles in the past four years.
Payson’s anemic recovery continues to lag behind the rest of the state, which helps explain why the town has so far this year spent $1.1 million more than it has collected in revenues.
Cattle grazing: The problem or the solution?
A long-awaited effort to restore forest health through commercial thinning projects will get under way in June near Show Low, the U.S. Forest Service has announced.
Health effects, government eavesdropping spook crowd
A crush of people alarmed about the imminent installation of “smart meters” crowded the Payson Town Council meeting last week, hoping to convince the town to pass a resolution opposing the automated transmitters that intermittently send information on electricity use to Arizona Public Service.
The pounding stadium music swelled and the middling crowd at the Payson Spring Rodeo leaned forward for the single most dangerous moment in sports — the foolhardy attempt to sit on top of a furiously bucking, spinning, twisting, slobbering, kicking bull.
Payson has 54 employees whose salaries and retirement benefits tally more than $75,000 — but the only one it can spare is the fire marshal, according to a budget study committee that reported its findings to the council last week.
A sorrowful Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District board Saturday doubled the district’s property tax rate and raised water rates by 20 to 33 percent, depending on usage.
With its budget still in limbo, the Payson School Board this week grappled with sweeping changes in focus as it issued contracts that included a surge in positions on the administrative schedule.
Payson’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year reflects a struggle to address long-postponed needs and big increases in public safety spending — despite the town’s still-sickly economic recovery.
Retiring Payson Unified School District Director of Special Services Barbara Fitzgerald took her leave after seven years in Payson on Monday with a heartfelt address to the school board that drew a prolonged standing ovation from the audience.
Raises for everyone! And more “everyones!”
Payson Wildlife Fair offers lessons in nature and the pitfalls of being in a relationship with an eagle
You’d think Jerry Dstwinkle would hate golden eagles. One tore out a bunch of his teeth. One punched a hole nearly clear through his arm. One left three long scars on his wrist. But people are funny — much harder to figure than eagles.
Governor faces opposition from fellow party members on Affordable Care Act
Gov. Jan Brewer’s effort to accept federal money to cover about 380,000 low-income Arizona residents has touched off a Civil War within Republican ranks, with normally ignored Democratic lawmakers standing by in bemusement. The latest twist in the strange saga turns on efforts by some Republican lawmakers to add a provision to ensure the expanded, federally funded plans don’t provide money for abortion or any services offered by Planned Parenthood.
But costs, delays spur talk of alternatives to FS site
They want to sell us the land. Really. Badly — just not quickly. That’s the mixed message that emerged about the Rim Country Educational Alliance’s struggle to buy 260 acres of land from the U.S. Forest Service for a 6,000-student university campus and various spinoff facilities.
Tonto Creek rushes past my perch in the granite/gneiss heart of the canyon below Bear Flat. Lobo lies on the grassy bank alongside me, having returned from his initial reconnaissance to resume his fitful study of the mystery of human motivation.
Hundreds attend reservation’s first Sunrise Ceremony
Carolena Guerra made history this weekend by celebrating the first coming of age Sunrise Ceremony in the history of the Tonto Apache Reservation. Between 200 and 300 people drawn from three Arizona Apache reservations attended the four days of dancing, singing, ceremonies, feasting and gift-giving that marked the transition to adulthood for girls of the tribe and also created intimate and ceremonial and family bonds between scattered Apache bands.
The Payson Unified School District gets good results at a low cost, according to an Arizona Auditor General’s Report that compares the 2,400-student district to similar districts statewide.
“This is our party and dance for the community,” said John Hall, officer in the Rim Country Classic Auto Club, “so long as they like great cars, rock and roll and smiling people, this is the event to attend.”
The Sawmill Theatres will blast through the digital 3D barrier on Thursday, with the showing of “Iron Man 3,” marking the local movie house’s high-stakes investment in the most advanced movie technology.
Star Valley mayor irked by criticism from other councilors
Star Valley Mayor Bill Rappaport on Thursday resigned his position on the council, stung by the criticism of fellow councilors concerning his support for background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows.
Supporters prevent eviction of Pine’s only physician
A scene straight out of the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” in Pine this week illuminated the challenges and joys of small-town life and old-fashioned medicine.
Fishing season sneaks up on a disheveled writer and his deadlines
So I’m standing in the driveway getting ready to go back to work and cover yet another night meeting when something strange and wondrous insinuates itself into the weary corner of my eye down on the East Verde River, ponded up behind the crossing.
Star Valley Mayor Bill Rappaport on Thursday resigned his position on the council, stung by the criticism of fellow council members concerning his support for background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows.
Test. Test. Test. The state has decreed that school funding, teacher salary, layoffs — everything depends on standardized test scores.
Who should wield the ruler when it comes time to measure hemlines on school kids?
I was feeling kind of edgy – and frustrated.
This year backers will close the deal on a university campus to transform economy
The plan to build a university campus in Payson has more twists and turns than the most convoluted of mystery novels.
Project makes Payson one of the only towns in Arizona with enough water for growth
The past year brought huge gains in making Payson one of the only communities in Arizona with plenty of water to meet all its future needs.
Still the greatest danger facing region
Only one thing threatens the survival of Rim Count: Wildfire.
School board ponders headphone policy
So a kid’s sitting quietly in class, working on a project, filling out worksheets, maybe reading “War and Peace.” No problem.
The Common Core academic standards at the heart of efforts to reform K-12 education is actually “part of a United Nations plan to have complete control of our educational system,” Jennifer Reynolds told a gathering of the Payson Tea Party last week.
School board struggles to boost student achievement despite dwindling resources
Don’t freeze in the headlights of the oncoming budget truck, Payson Unified School District Superintendent Ron Hitchcock advised the school board this week.
Proposed budget system uses funds in areas to boost student achievement
An intent Payson School Board struggled most of Saturday to understand the far-reaching implications of Superintendent Ron Hitchcock’s priority-based approach to the district’s budget.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) has once again introduced a bill designed to “streamline” environmental and administrative reviews when it comes to reviewing grazing leases and thinning projects to reduce wildfire risk.
Petrified Forest lays reveals violent past to a warm-blooded pair of survivors
The wind blew. The planet spun. The light faded And all the while I stood pondering fate on a ridge above the crystallized corpse of a lost world on a ridge in the Petrified National Forest.
Payson’s economy remains stubbornly stuck in first gear, lagging behind the economic recovery that has seemingly set in elsewhere in the sta
The U.S. Forest Service has released an “unprecedented” draft environmental assessment on plans to use mechanical thinning and controlled burns to restore a million acres of dense, overcrowded forest to more healthy conditions