Could be the best of years for Payson schools — raises for everyone (finally), reading specialists for the little tykes, mentors to help teachers boost test scores, a new bus (finally), stipends for coaches and music directors, better computers, new textbooks (finally) and a chance to dig the insurance plan out of a hole.
Bill Mundell decries impact of dark money on regulators
The system’s corrupt.
Deputy state treasurer offers scathing critique of land trust withdrawal for school districts
Arizona has plenty of money to settle a school inflation lawsuit without taking more money out of the state land trust already reserved for schools, Deputy State Treasurer Mark Swenson told the Payson Tea Party on Tuesday.
But only if voters approve Proposition 123
If voters approve Proposition 123, Payson Unified School District employees will get a 4 percent, across-the-board raise — the first in years.
Nikki Bagley blasts Sen. Sylvia Allen for votes on school cuts
Senate candidate Nikki Bagley lamented Arizona’s deep cuts in education, saying continued cuts and indifference will cripple the state’s economy — and overshadow the future of our children.
The state’s budget projections continue to brighten, but lawmakers draft budget plans generally envision less spending than even Gov. Doug Ducey’s stringent plan.
Evangelical minster Ray Strauss says he’s a conservative who gets things done.
The Roundup has launched a new app so readers can get up-to-the-minute news stories, photos and videos on cellphone screens, with a menu that divides content into categories modeled after the print edition.
Bid to expand medical care blocked
A House bill that would have provided health insurance to 30,000 to 45,000 children from working poor families — including an estimated 500 in Gila County — this week smashed into the brick wall of Senate President Andy Biggs.
Legalization of rockets may complicate scary fire season
Arizona’s looming wildfire season may get a new twist this year: Fireworks.
The Greasy Pole
House Speaker David Gowen has ruled that reporters must pass extensive background checks before they can get onto the floor of the Legislature to cover the session.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey touted his record, plugged Proposition 123 and offered a glimpse of life in the governor’s mansion before an enthusiastic crowd at the Gila County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Luncheon last week.
Congressman calls for bare-knuckle tactics
Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) warned that “the honeymoon’s over” for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Gov. Doug Ducey told one story about the pleasures — and complications — of being famous and powerful.
Crisis looms as Arizona mines its underground reserves
Western states use about twice as much Colorado River water as they can sustain, according to a recent study by researchers from Arizona State University.
Ducey ponders bill to waive requirement for long-term supply
The Arizona House last week passed a bill that would deal a blow to efforts to link development to an adequate, long-term water supply.
Laws will loosen donor rules, ban collecting of ballots
A sweeping series of controversial changes in the rules for political donors and elections have either moved through the Arizona Legislature on straight, party-line votes or already won the governor’s signature.
The East Verde Park Firewise Committee was one of more than 100 projects nationally to win a $500 award from State Farm to encourage brush clearing to protect communities from wildfires.
Star Valley faces $400,000 financial impact
Gov. Doug Ducey dealt a body blow to Star Valley’s budget by signing a ban on photo radar on state-maintained highways.
Pine volunteers working hard to protect community
Two dozen volunteers turned out last week to throw a kit-built bridge across Pine Creek, the latest effort by the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee to safeguard that unincorporated community.
Last week’s six-hour lines at the relative handful of open polling places in Maricopa County this week spurred a furious political backlash.
Earlier this month Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott), who represents Rim Country in Congress, introduced a bill that would make it possible for state and local governments to operate facilities and manage federal lands.
Darby McFarlane figured she could revolutionize egg laying. So the Rim Country Middle School student set up an experiment for the Gila County Science Fair that involved feeding one group of chickens a high-protein, high-carb diet.
Only about 38 percent start and fewer than 20 percent finish
Payson students attend college at a far lower rate than students statewide, according to figures compiled by the Arizona Board of Regents.
State support has dropped 60 percent since 2008
Arizona State University wants to raise tuition by $200 annually for residents and $1,100 for foreign and out-of-state students, the latest in an inexorable string of increases that has boosted tuition from amongst the lowest in the nation to roughly 25th.
Energy audit pinpoints savings by controlling off-hour temperatures
The Payson Unified School District can cut its $650,000 annual energy bill by 10 to 15 percent, mostly by upgrading heating and cooling systems to operate only minimally in the evening when the buildings are closed, a team of consultants reported to the Payson School Board this week.
Gov. Doug Ducey this week signed a bill that could both streamline and upend school efforts to adopt a common test to measure student progress.
The Eastern Arizona Counties Association has made a desperate plea for the U.S. Forest Service to knock loose enough forest thinning projects to keep the struggling timber industry in the White Mountains alive.
Star Valley faces crisis unless governor vetoes new law
The House has approved a ban on speed cameras on state highways, a potential body blow to Star Valley.
The American Leadership Academy letter to parents cited alleged inaccuracies and misrepresentations made by critics of the charter school and reported in a series by Roundup reporter Michele Nelson.
A national movement to change the way Americans elect a president spurred a sometimes baffling, ultimately confusing pitch by Arizona state Senator Sylvia Allen in a Payson appearance before the Gila County Republican Party.
Expert lauds local effort to boost college attendance
Years of state cutbacks have weakened the educational system on which Arizona’s prosperity depends, according to Evelyn Casuga, with the Center for the Future of Arizona.
The Tonto National Forest took advantage of the wet winter to burn nearly 11,000 acres of brush and debris piles to help create a buffer zone around Rim Country communities.
Education top issue for candidate running for Democratic nomination
The former mayor of Jerome wants to unseat Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), who represents most of Rim Country in a sprawling district that stretches from Flagstaff to Snowflake in the White Mountains.
Parents can’t opt out, but districts might
The state Senate this week killed a bill that would have allowed parents to prevent their children from taking standardized tests designed to compare student performance to national standards.
Jack Day had the best of reasons to survive World War II’s most ferocious battle — no matter how long the odds
Jack Day felt the excited calm settle over him as the frail landing craft gunned its engine to run up onto the volcanic sands of Iwo Jima.
Construction road opens as talks with ASU intensify
Backers of the plan to build a university in Payson on Thursday celebrated the construction of a road needed to start work on the 253-acre site.
Rim Country veterans recall both triumph and terror in one of worst battles in history
Larry Norton crouched behind a cluster of tall, shell-blasted volcanic stones on Iwo Jima, staring anxiously out across the hellish landscape toward where two wounded Marines lay bleeding.
Plan to divert hundreds of millions to private schools stuck
A Senate-approved bill that would make virtually any student in the state eligible for a tax-payer provided voucher to attend private school may not make it through the House, say observers.
The contractor charged with the largest forest restoration project in history has both trumpeted its progress — and suffered another setback.
Forest Service will now allow just 148 cars per day
The Forest Service will impose a $6 entrance fee and require advanced reservations to visit Fossil Creek starting May 1.
Kelli Ward offers radically conservative proposals
Former state senator Dr. Kelli Ward brought her insurgent crusade to unseat fellow Republican U.S. Senator John McCain to Payson this week, with a wide-ranging attack on McCain. She spent hours of patiently answering questions posed by members of the Payson Tea Party.
State officials say added tests in Pine reveal no health risk from mercury
The problematic Pine Elementary School gym passed the latest mercury monitoring test with flying colors, according to state officials.
Rim Country residents can expect more large, controlled burns this week to create a buffer zone around forested communities.
20th lowest crime rate in state
Payson ranked as one of the 20 safest cities in Arizona in a statewide, city-by-city rating system developed by SafeWise.
Stay tuned for March madness
The mighty El Niño wimped out.
House, Senate vie for credit for reversing cuts voted last year
Gov. Doug Ducey this week quickly signed a bill to restore funding for vocational education throughout Arizona.
The U.S. Forest Service will invest another $100 million over the next 10 years in an effort to accelerate the largest forest restoration project in history.
Forest Service wants to protect 100-square-mile watershed from crown fires
The U.S. Forest Service this week released the details of a plan to dramatically thin 64,000 acres of hillside forest to protect the C.C. Cragin Reservoir and surrounding communities from the effects of a catastrophic wildfire.
Committee votes to put back $30 million after talks with governor
A key House committee this week voted to restore almost all of the $30 million lawmakers cut from the budget for job training programs last year.