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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Forest thinning progress – and criticism

Debate rages on about largest forest restoration effort in U.S. history

The largest forest restoration project in history continues to make progress — and spur criticism.

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Fire budget woes

Districts seek more property taxes as financial crisis hits

A lobbying group for the state’s fire districts is pushing hard to lift the strict limits on the property taxes to provide money for most fire departments — especially in rural areas like Rim Country.

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Universities left in the lurch

The dire plight of the state’s three public universities has been largely overlooked in the uproar over funding for K-12 education.

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Schools honor Tonto Apache Tribe

The Payson Unified School District honored the Tonto Apache Tribal Council as “Heroes of Education,” for the tribe’s many donations to the district in recent years — including $20,000 to replace the turf on the football field.

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World on fire

Wildfires ignite political firestorm centered on faster forest thinning, budget reforms

The U.S. Forest Service remains in something approaching bureaucratic and budget meltdown, with wildfires torching the budget and thinning projects languishing.

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University backers record title to land

No word yet on formal negotiations with university partner

Backers of the plan to build a university campus this week recorded the deed to the 253-acre university parcel on which they plan to build a 6,000-student university.

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Wyman: A ‘good start, not a solution’

School inflation settlement only enough for 4 percent raise

The much ballyhooed settlement of the school inflation funding lawsuit represents “a good first step, but doesn’t solve the problem of public school funding in Arizona,” Payson Unified School District Superintendent Greg Wyman told the Payson Rotary Club last week.

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Mud Flows Ahead

Erosion could double in the West

Erosion into streams and reservoirs will double in Western states in the next 40 years due to an increase in the size and intensity of wildfires, according to a study by the United States Geological Survey.

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Rim offers routine exposure to beauty

Deadline day, running late already. So I barrel out of the driveway, thinking about all the loose threads that somehow had to get woven into a newspaper.

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Study: Forests fleeing rising temperatures

Warming trend already changing plants in Southwest

Whole forests have started shifting northward in the wake of forest fires, according to researchers from the University of California, Davis.

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Winter comes gusting into Rim Country

A slow-moving storm covered the Rim with snow and broke a 90-year snowfall record in Flagstaff, which received five inches.

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University master plan

Contracts for architect, manager signed

The Rim Country Educational Foundation has selected an architect and a project manager to begin detailed work on the design and infrastructure for a 6,000-student university campus in Payson.

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Turn of the seasons

Lobo’s once more making ripples on a perfect fall day

The wind riffles the still surface of a side channel of the East Verde River, causing the reflected yellow dreamscape of sycamores to shimmer.

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4FRI making slow progress

Good Earth Power continues to report progress in the most massive forest restoration project ever undertaken, as studies underscore the urgency of the effort.

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Forest ‘vulnerable to destruction’

Report highlights threat of Arizona fires

Thinning and restoring forest lands can yield about $10 to $100 in benefits for every dollar spent, according to a report issued by Arizona Forward.

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Forest Service finishes sale of university site

After years of delay and struggle, the Tonto National Forest has accepted a $4.1 million check to hand over title to 253 acres of land on which the Rim Country Educational Alliance will build a 6,000-student university.

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Mystery wrapped in an enigma

With trowels and toothbrushes and infinite patience, the sunburned crew of archaeologists uncovered the top layer of a mystery.

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Ammo maker expands, but not to Granite Dells

HPR founder says existing plant will remain in Payson

Advanced Tactical Armament Concepts will build a $554 million ammunition making plant with 605 employees in Tennessee, but will continue to operate its much smaller manufacturing operation in Payson indefinitely owner Jim Antich told the Roundup this week.

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Celebrating Zane Grey

The irascible, vivid, obsessively productive, Zane Grey would hardly have recognized his house – sitting on the bright green grass in the grey, cool rain alongside Green Valley Park Lake in Payson.

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Much ado about race-based quotas

Payson board rejects bylaws

A seemingly uncontroversial proposal spurred a whole series of split votes and confusion on the Payson School Board on Monday.

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Parents: Brace for bad news on AzMERIT test scores

Statewide, fewer than a third rank as ‘proficient’

Brace yourself: This is gonna be bad.

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More money for schools

Head of House education committee supports Ducey plan

State Rep. Paul Boyer urged voters to support Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to increase K-12 spending with more money from the flush state land fund.

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Tortoise, snail, denied endangered species listing

Feds, state say protections now adequate despite threats

State and private efforts have worked so well there’s no need to list either the Sonoran desert tortoise or the Page springsnail as endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded.

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Congressional race draws a feisty crowd

District has all of southern Gila County

The bare-knuckle struggle to replace District 1 Congressman Anne Kirkpatrick is shaping up to be the most contentious and competitive in the state.

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Group seeks Internet backup for Rim Country

Driven by repeated Internet and cellphone outages, a high-powered group of local business and political leaders is pushing for a backup network.

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University sale imminent

Foundation to spend $1 million on development contract, engineering

The Rim Country Educational Alliance and Foundation will this week hand over a $4.1 million check to buy 253 acres for a future university site in Payson.

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Native fish proposed as endangered

Feds plan protection for chubs after 23-year wait

After thinking it over for 23 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed adding to the endangered species list two native fish found in Rim Country — the headwater chub and the roundtail chub — Also known as the Verde trout.

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Payson’s Young Eagles take flight

Best friends and a fear of heights

Payson Rizzo, 11, climbed into the back of the tiny, frail-winged airplane knowing he was doomed — but what could he do?

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Study: Arizona among worst states for teachers

Another low ranking as school funding debate continues to heat up

Arizona ranked 49th among the states when it comes to conditions for teachers, in a study based largely on census and other data published on the WalletHub website.

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University backers unveil site sign

University advocates on Saturday with much fanfare unveiled a custom-designed, carved sign to mark the site of a future campus in Payson.

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Hope for a wet Rim Country winter continues to mount

Forecasters see chance of ‘Super El Niño’ snowpack

Rim Country got drenched Monday and Tuesday, a portent of things to come.

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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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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.

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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.

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.