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.
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.
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.
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.
Wildfires burning across Rim Country continue to alarm many residents, while dramatizing the shift in the Forest Service approach to managing fire.
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.
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.
Rim Country’s state representatives fared poorly when it comes to support for public education in a report released by education advocacy groups.
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.
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.
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.
Roundup editor Peter Aleshire took this picture of the Rim in snow last winter.
AzMERIT: Good, band & UGLY
Happy glimmers of good news for the Payson Unified School District gleam in the latest AzMERIT test scores.
Vera Eccles came by the office this week, very upset. She’d suffered a terrible trauma — and we made it worse.
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.
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.
We shuffled into the backyard with a beach towel and sleepy expectations, hours of deep dark from the dawn.
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.
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.
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.
The intense, high-stakes, dark-money-dominated campaign for three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission lurched through the primary election last week and into an even more contentious general election.
Arizona Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Gosar both survived unexpectedly strong challenges in their Republican primary contests for re-election.
Pine relies on donations to pay coaches, clubs, advisers
The 110-student Pine-Strawberry School District has a couple of things in common with the 2,400-student Payson Unified School District.
Tailings could cover 4,400 acres, leave 1.8-mile-wide, 1,000-foot-deep hole
The Tonto National Forest will start gathering information on the environmental impact of what may become the world’s largest copper mine — not to mention a humongous hole in the ground.
Burns trying to force utility to reveal political spending
Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns’ lonely crusade to force Arizona Public Service to disclose its dark money spending took another turn this week when he issued a subpoena to force the million-customer utility to turn over its records.
Environmental group seeking long-delayed ruling on 417 species
Rep. Paul Gosar this week renewed his war with the Center for Biological Diversity, blasting the Flagstaff-based group for filing lawsuits on behalf of endangered species.
Martinez, Bagley will challenge incumbents representing Rim Country
Lawmakers must support Arizona’s educational system for the state to prosper, two Democratic legislative candidates insisted at a recent Payson fundraiser.
Weisser stressed education, immigration in effort to unseat Rep. Gosar
Democratic congressional candidate Mikel Weisser brought to Payson recently his longshot crusade to unseat Republican Rep. Paul Gosar.
Terrible ranking for kids
Kids have it rough in Arizona — especially if their folks aren’t rich. Arizona ranks near the bottom nationally on a host of measurements of child welfare, in a national study released this week by WalletHub.
Democrats say utility trying to crush solar, jack up electric rates
Arizona Corporation Commission candidate Tom Chabin accused Arizona Public Service of corrupting the commission by spending between $3 million and $8 million on a dark money campaign.
The Pine School Board focused on a host of new policies this week, including a policy to prevent discrimination against transgender students and a new state policy that would prevent schools from preventing people from carrying guns on public right of way adjacent to school grounds.
Tonto Creek and the East Verde flooded crossings, Green Valley Park lakes overflowed and even the ASU Sun Devils ran for cover.
Trump an issue in Senate race
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick brought her campaign to unseat incumbent U.S. Senator John McCain to Payson last week, with a rousing speech at a fundraiser staged by Rim Country Democrats before opening her local headquarters.
McCain blasts Trump, prompting round of criticism from all sides in tight race
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest firebomb has set off a crown fire in the crucial Arizona U.S. Senate race.
The mysterious and often confusing needs of Mexican spotted owls play a key role in developing the blueprint for thinning more than a million acres of Rim Country forests.
Three Republican candidates for the Arizona Corporation Commission took starkly different positions on whether to force Arizona Public Service to disclose the millions it reportedly spent to influence the commission race two years ago.
Letting it burn
Monsoon storms first started a rash of fires — then turned them into a blessing. The lightning-caused fires atop the Rim last week behaved themselves despite the blustery monsoon winds, thanks to the welcome rains.
The 14,500-acre Fuller Fire near Point Imperial on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon continued to burn over the weekend.
Storms batter Phoenix but tame Rim Country wildfires
The monsoon has gotten back on track, just in time to dampen a host of wildfires burning across Northern Arizona.
One stark conclusion emerged from the recent Payson session on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative — on which the future of every single Rim Country community depends.
Strauss mounts challenge in the primary
Minister turned congressional candidate Ray Strauss once more brought his longshot insurgency to Rim Country, with a meet-the-public gathering this week at Tiny’s Restaurant.
Dark money, solar make election ‘most important’ in state history
“I believe this is the most important election in the history of Arizona,” said former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes of the campaign to fill three seats on the utility-regulating commission in the shadow of a debate about solar energy and dark money.
Fresh from the Republican National Convention, Dr. Kelli Ward renewed her slash-and-burn attack on Arizona Sen. John McCain — who skipped the convention crowning Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.
The intense race to fill the Flagstaff congressional seat vacated by Ann Kirkpatrick yielded some surprising news last week, with word that Democrat Tom O’Halleran has a big financial lead over the crowd of Republicans vying for the seat, according to just released campaign finance reports.
Method may generate money for restoration
Thin a forest.
Streams we’ve battered and abused have new hope of restoration
All of Gila County has slipped back into “severe drought” according to the U.S. Forest Service, extending the fire season and prompting the Tonto National Forest to leave fire restrictions clamped into place.
Solar Strong America will stage an event in Payson on Wednesday, July 20 to celebrate the benefits of rooftop solar installations.
Photographer DJ Craig captured the scatter of the Milky Way galaxy’s 400 billion stars in the clear night skies above Payson, with the glow of Phoenix on the hushed horizon.
Incidents tax police, fire departments
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office had a busy weekend — brush fires, rescues, an animal attack, and a hit and run.