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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Family history detectives converge

Weekend sessions teach people how to find their ancestors

A slew of squinty eyed detectives will set up shop in Payson Friday and Saturday – determined to track down horse thieves, heroes, missing persons and other odd looking branches on the family tree of anyone in Payson.

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After Tuesday's election, Republicans run the table

Party triumphs in state and national contests

Republicans sweep of state offices in very early results on election night. Most of the Republican statewide candidates did even better in Gila County than they did statewide, reflecting the growing strength of Republicans in North County and the relative dwindling of the influence of Democratic-leaning South County. The most interesting race in the early results looks like the matchup between Independent Tom O’Halleran and Republican Sylvia Allen to fill the District 4 State Senate seat left vacant by the death of Republican Sen. Chester Crandell.

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Rep. Gosar faces longshot challenger in Rim Country district

Weisser offers sweeping critique of incumbent’s priorities

Mikel Weisser recently brought his Quixotic campaign for Congress to Payson, making an appearance, ringing doorbells and slipping his card under impassive windshield wipers.

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State Senate candidates clash in only debate

Allen, O’Halleran disagree on AHCCCS, schools

The contending candidates for the state Senate seat representing Rim Country met this week in a civil, articulate debate that exposed profound differences on policy — and a mutual dearth of specifics.

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Dark money crusade

Goddard’s secretary of state campaign focuses on revealing political donors

Secretary of state candidate Terry Goddard swept through Payson Thursday pursuing his full-throated crusade to force disclosure of the sources of “dark money” that increasingly dominates political campaigns.

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Water survey yields surprises about water costs, rate structures

Arizona charges low, but ‘conservation’ rates may not work

Several surprising conclusions have emerged from a comprehensive survey of water systems of Arizona.

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Tale of the somber pine and the giddy aspen ...

Fall flares across Rim Country in winter’s shadow

The leaves flittered down, trembling all the way to the golden ground. I shuttered away, in love with luminous yellow in an aspen grove on the slopes of an ancient volcano.

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Senate Independent challenged

Tea Party gives O’Halleran a hard time

Independent Arizona Senate candidate Tom O’Halleran staunchly defended his record as a pragmatic, problem-solving moderate in the face of often clamorous questioning before the Payson Tea Party.

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State Senate battle turns on Independents

Former Republican senators face off for District 6 seat

The battle for the state Senate seat in legislative District 6 will likely turn into one of the most closely watched contests this year, since it could transform the role of the growing number of Independents.

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House race poses stark choice for voters

Health care. Education. Taxes. Profound differences separate the positions of the three candidates vying for the two seats in the Arizona House representing Rim Country.

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Budget woes put squeeze on governor’s race

The Arizona governor’s race has come down to a dead-heat mud-wrestling match dominated by “dark money” groups that has largely sidestepped the hard choices.

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Goddard vows to shine light on dark money

Wants secretary of state’s office to push for more disclosure

Secretary of state candidate Terry Goddard brought his crusade against political “dark money” to Rim Country Thursday, with a local radio show appearance and interview.

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Payson’s economy surges

Construction, restaurants hotels led rise in sales

Payson’s economy continues to mend from the long recession, with a surge in construction, restaurants and accommodations.

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When the monster comes calling ...

FireSmart event urges people to prepare for inevitable wildfire

The monster will come for us.

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School board candidates debate standards

All three contenders now support override, but differ on Common Core

Sharp differences on the acceptance of new Arizona College and Career Readi­ness Standards emerged in the second forum involving all three candidates for a seat on the Payson Unified School District Board before a well-attended session of the Payson Tea Party.

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Alliance seeks added FS land

The Rim Country Educational Alliance board on Thursday agreed unanimously to seek a way to meet two final conditions Arizona State Uni­versity has imposed on an effort to build a 6,000-student university in Payson.

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Site nearly settled

Alliance meets Thursday to set terms for Forest Service purchase

The Rim Country Educational Alliance board will meet Thursday to authorize Chairman Steve Drury to enter into final negotiations to buy a 253-acre site for a 6,000-student university from the U.S. Forest Service.

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School budget override draws praise

Tea Party stalwarts say education ranks as top priority

The Payson Tea Party Thursday had a perhaps surprisingly friendly reaction to an informational session on the Payson Unified School District’s budget override ballot measure.

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Rim reps blast feds

Barton, Thorpe decry federal controls, rules

The top priority for the two state House representatives who represent Rim Country remains battling the federal government — especially when it comes to taking control of federal lands, rolling back the expansion of health care and battling environmental regulations.

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Tonto Forest planning to boost fees

Charges could double at many sites to cover costs

Tonto National Forest wants to substantially increase its fees for many campgrounds and boat ramps, but lower the cost of an annual pass from $95 to $80.

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Federal effort to cut pollution spurs debate

Arizona Corporation Commission candidate decries EPA targets

A Republican candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission in Payson last week joined a chorus of opposition to federal rules intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52 percent in Arizona in the next 15 years.

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Off-road limits cause clashes

The Tonto National Forest’s long-awaited effort to limit off-road travel to protect the forest has provoked a hornet swarm of criticism.

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University Site Appraisal Thrills Alliance

$4.1 million for Forest Service parcel

An independent appraiser put the price of a 253-acre Forest Service site for a planned 6,000-student university at just $4.1 million — well below expectations.

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‘Dark money’ issue sparks tough questions

Corporation commission candidate Doug Little grilled by local Tea Party

The issue of campaign “dark money” overshadowed Arizona Corporation Commission Doug Little’s appearance recently before the Payson Tea Party.

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Fresh storm due

Last week’s predicted big storm from the remnants of a hurricane veered off into New Mexico before delivering the predicted deluge in Rim Country.

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Education divides would-be governors

Two polished and articulate candidates clashed in a gaff-free governor’s debate last week, revealing sharp differences — especially when it comes to education.

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Indian Rodeo Regional Finals

Lights Out had had enough. He kicked the plywood chute, making it thunder.

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Floods close Houston Mesa Road

Heavy rains expected tonight, tomorrow

Heavy rain on near Beaver Valley on Wednesday afternoon once more flood portions of Houston Mesa Road, forcing a temporary closure as Gila County road crews cleared the flood of dirt and rocks.

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‘We’ve destroyed this country’

Allen crusades for Senate seat

State Senate candidate Sylvia Allen brought to Rim Country last week her hastily assembled campaign to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Chester Crandell in a fall from a horse just before the Republican primary.

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The search for Grand Falls

A long ways from Leupp perched on the edge of Water Dropping Down

We missed it.

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University plan eyed

Forest Service appraisal near, sites compared

The Rim Country Educational Alliance board and Arizona State University are pondering a detailed cost analysis of four sites for a university campus in Payson.

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Group seeks P/S residents’ views on new businesses

Buoyed by its success in keeping a Dollar General store out of Pine, a coalition of businesses has launched an all-out effort to find out what kinds of businesses people in the community do want.

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Tight state Senate race looming

Republican Allen faces Independent O’Halleran

Republican Precinct Committeemen of Legislative District Six this weekend picked Navajo County Supervisor Sylvia Allen to appear on the general election ballot as the Republican nominee to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the Aug. 12 death of Senator Chester Crandell, who died as a result of a fall from a horse.

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Wildfire impacts growing

The soot from a dramatic increase in wildfires poses a much greater risk to human health — and the planet — than scientists thought.

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Arizona Game and Fish blasts federal wolf recovery plan

Proposed revised plan for wolves controversial

There’s an old saying when it comes to newspapering that if everyone’s mad at you, then you must be doing something right.

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Pine water plan examines supply

Despite problems, master plan shows enough water for future build-out

Remarkably enough, Pine and Strawberry have nearly enough water capacity to support a build-out population of more than 13,000, according to a long-awaited water infrastructure master plan prepared by engineers from CH2M Hill.

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Medical battle renewed

A fresh court ruling has put a potentially divisive election issue on the front burner.

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Council runoff

Late ballots have limited impact

Payson council candidates Chris Higgins and Bob Lockhart appear headed for a runoff election in November, according to the count of 2,800 mail-in ballots released Friday afternoon by the Gila County Elections Department.

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Pine Strawberry water district full of leaks

Mishaps, water quality, leaky lines dominate maintenance report

Keep on scrambling ... but watch the wires.

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School board cracks down on public comments during meetings

The Payson School Board agreed to crack down on a once open-ended meeting style, which included few rules on when people in the audience could chime in.

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Board postpones decision on proposal to hire firm to update, maintain facilities plan

The Payson School Board this week indefinitely postponed a proposal to hire a private firm to update and maintain the district’s capital improvement plan.

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School offers free parent sessions on crucial topics

Worried about people bullying your kid at school?

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Historic partnership hailed

Saving the Blue Ridge Reservoir watershed

An all-star cast gathered in Payson Wednesday to sign an agreement to protect the watershed of the Blue Ridge Reservoir in a sweeping measure participants believe will serve as a national model.

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Negative campaigning decried

Mayor Evans at 54 percent, but Roberson not conceding

A sometimes-tough Payson mayoral campaign ended this week, but the bruises will likely remain.

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Statewide races: Night of upsets and dark money impact

Primary campaigns a warmup for general election struggle

A brutal Republican primary full of upsets, dark money and controversy pivoted sharply this week to a more familiar, but equally bitter partisan struggle for the whole array of statewide offices.

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Wright takes judge seat

Payson Town Attorney headed for superior court

Payson Town Attorney Tim Wright appeared headed to an easy win in his campaign for a Gila County Superior Court judgeship.

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Painful old business in Pine

Water board approves free meters

The new Pine-Strawberry Water Im­provement District board last week managed to conclude some painful old business last week with a split vote — but none of the bitterness that has bedeviled that district in recent years.

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O’Halleran: Voters want lawmakers to solve problems

Former senator running as an Independent in hopes of shaking up establishment

Former Sen. Tom O’Halleran believes in old-fashioned politics — where you knock on doors to get elected, then actually solve problems when you get into office.

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Economic views clash in Payson mayor’s race

Does Evans do too much – or not enough?

He hasn’t done enough. And he’s a micromanager. Sometimes, you just can’t win — especially during an election.

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Moment of truth

Alliance to decide next month on where to build university

The Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) board hopes to pick a site for a university at a scheduled Sept. 18 meeting, said board chairman Steve Drury.