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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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EPA rules blasted

Arizona officials oppose plan to cut pollution 34 percent

Opposition continues to build among Arizona elected officials to a plan by the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon dioxide and other pollutants produced by coal-fired power plants.

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Lawmaker blasts EPA for spill

Rep. Thorpe decries toxic plume heading down Animas River toward Lake Powell

State lawmakers found a whole new reason to bash the Environmental Protection Agency with news that a botched mine cleanup effort released 3 million gallons of mine waste rushing down the Animas River in Colorado headed for Lake Powell.

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Study bears out region’s painfully slow recovery

Arizona lags U.S., Gila County lags state

Does it seem like the boom’s never going to return?

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Arizona revenues rebounding

$322 million windfall revives debate about education cuts

Higher than expected tax collections have turned the state’s projected deficit into a $266 million ending balance.

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Big changes possible in medical care for working poor

Lawsuit, governor’s proposal may force big changes in AHCCCS

Arizona’s tenacious battle to limit or modify the federally-funded medical program for low-income residents continues, both in court and at the Legislature.

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Rim Country presses for access to Fossil Creek

Leaders meet with Forest Service on rescues, plans to further limit access to protect creek

The U.S. Forest Service’s plan to close off Fossil Creek to most access by vehicles for at least an interim period has provoked debate and criticism — both from people seeking more access and from environmental groups challenging the years-long delay in adopting a plan to protect the spring-fed creek.

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Wildfire protection

Payson Ranger District snags $1.9 million

The Payson Ranger District has snagged another $1.9 million for thinning projects to protect Rim Country communities.

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Stream stocking experiment befuddles anglers

Low catch rates on East Verde prompt complaints

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been experimenting with the number of fish stocked into the East Verde River and Tonto Creek every week, part of a statewide effort to keep anglers happy without wasting fish.

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State’s wildfire season mild, but much of West goes up in flames

A mild spring and a wet monsoon have helped underscore the sea change in the U.S. Forest Service’s attitude toward forest fires across Arizona.

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Education level dropping

But campus boosts worker education

Arizona continues to lag further and further behind the rest of the country when it comes to producing an educated workforce, according to an analysis by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

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Judge rebuffs Fossil Creek grazing

Legal fight to protect endangered frog continues

A federal judge has dealt another setback to the Coconino National Forest’s effort to renew a grazing permit on the headwaters of Fossil Creek.

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Tribe supports award-winning Payson FFA chapter

The Tonto Apache Tribe has donated $4,060 to the Payson FFA chapter, to help seven top agriculture students attend a national competition.

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Life's handiwork

Bridge offers lesson in the power of time – and living things

Sitting in one of my favorite places in the world, I listen to the dim, cool drip of life — the maker of worlds, the merger of geology and biology.

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Big increase in abandoned campfires

Abandoned campfires continue to pose a hazard to forested communities, despite the unusually mild, wet year.

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Banner bringing ICU telemedicine to Payson

Telemedicine systems can reduce mortality rates and hospital stays, according to study

A telemedicine hookup with medical experts can reduce in-hospital mortality by 26 percent and the length of time spent in the hospital by 20 percent, according to a study published in CHEST, a peer-reviewed medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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Cragin pipeline work progresses

Construction crews continue to overhaul Payson’s water system

Construction crews continued work this week on the mammoth task of connecting the C.C. Cragin Reservoir (formerly Blue Ridge) pipeline to the town’s existing, complex water system.

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Sign contest yields a winner

Archaeological field work reportedly completed

Beautifully ambiguous.

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Forecast prompts sigh of relief from water managers

El Niño promises wet monsoon, winter

The El Niño conditions in the Pacific didn’t save Rim Country from a dry spring — but it should yield a wet summer and snowy winter, according to the latest projections from the National Weather Service.

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Forest restoration gains ground

4FRI contractor opens a mill, returns to forest

The stalled Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) picked up steam in June with the opening of a new mill in Williams, the reopening of the forest to thinning projects, the addition of a second shift to a mill in Heber and plans for a new, high-tech, small log mill in Williams.

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Fire codes prove their value

Building codes, Firewise can save lives, property

This item should come as no surprise to anyone.

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Forest Road 300 offers soothing dose of historic scenery

The view off the meander of Forest Road 300 stretches for 100 miles and 100 years, following the wagon road General George Crook blazed in the wrenching war with the Apache Indians that defined American history and character.

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In search of the perfect fishing hole

I stand stalwart with my fly rod in the mighty East Verde, entertaining the hatchery trout to the best of my haphazard abilities.

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Banner/MHA complete $40 million merger

The Mogollon Health Alliance and Banner Health on Friday completed their merger, with enormous implications for health care in Rim Country, the Payson university project and educational and health care charitable initiatives.

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U.S. Supreme Court upholds health care law

Arizona representatives blast decision

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that thousands of Gila County residents won’t lose health care coverage.

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4FRI contractor struggles with lack of trucks, money

Criticism swirls around painfully slow progress

Debate continues to swirl around the painfully slow progress in the largest forest restoration forest restoration effort in U.S. history.

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Wildfires flare

Crews contain most blazes

Wildfires continue to burn throughout Arizona, but most pose little threat to structures, people or the forest.

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Wildfires continue to burn

Firefighters have blazes contained

Wildfires continue to burn throughout Arizona, but most don’t pose a threat to structures, people or the forest. The Forest Service is letting several of the larger fires burn to thin brush and actually boost forest health.

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Dude Fire: Learning from tragedy’s lessons

Their fate was sealed five miles overhead as the top of the roiling mushroom cloud of hot air began to disintegrate.

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Saving the C.C. Cragin watershed

Mind the spotted owls. And the goshawks too.

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Fire danger rises along with calls for reform

Federal officials deploy 10,000 wildlands firefighters

Despite a mild fire season so far in Rim Country, federal officials say they expect a rough fire season throughout the West.

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Governor: Use lands trust

Gov. Doug Ducey last week proposed injecting an extra $300 million annually into the state’s spending on K-12 education by taking more money out of the state lands trust.

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Forest Service wants to bar cars from Fossil Creek

The U.S. Forest Service wants to cut off almost all access to Fossil Creek by car to protect the unique, spring-fed stream from the impact of some 100,000 visitors a year.

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June miracle: Let it burn

Now, here’s how weird things are this year. When lightning started a fire north of Strawberry this week — the Forest Service decided to let it burn.

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Forest Service seeks ideas on ‘sustainable recreation’

Would you rather save an endangered species — or keep the public from visiting a beautiful spring?

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Senate challenger brings tough-talking campaign to Payson

State Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward seeks to unseat Sen. John McCain

The doctor-turned-state-senator challenging Sen. John McCain for his U.S. Senate seat brought her plucky, long-shot campaign to Payson with an appearance before the Payson Tea Party last week.

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University cuts pose threat, opportunity for Payson

Arizona suffers deepest cutbacks, highest tuition hikes in the nation

Arizona cut support for universities deeper than any other state during the recession, triggering the steepest tuition hikes in the country, according to a just-released report from the national Center for Budget Priorities.

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Sales booming, construction lagging

Tax receipts up 8 percent, outpacing state

Payson’s economy continues to outperform the state’s, according to the town’s May financial tracking report.

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Payson university site zone change advances

Payson aims to reassure Forest Service on sale

The Payson Town Council held a second public hearing on a proposal to rezone a 253-acre Forest Service parcel for a university.

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Sunset Crater’s not erupting, no matter what Internet claims

Turns out, you can’t believe what you read on the Internet.

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Cragin watershed work starts

Forest Service plans to start cutting 64,000 acres of forest this summer

The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to start a 64,000-acre thinning project on the watershed feeding into the C.C. Cragin Reservoir by the summer of 2017.

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State tax revenue surplus growing

Thorpe suggests reconsidering university cuts

State tax revenues continue to flow in much faster than budget builders assumed when they adopted the Fiscal 2015-16 budget, which included a freeze on K-12 spending and another cut in university spending.

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Bungled state law will punish schools

Districts with charter schools may have to make years of back payments

A mistake in a budget bill could cost districts like Payson with charter schools millions.

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A trap of our own making

Forest tour reveals dirty secret behind unhealthy tree thickets

The wood-gobbling machines trundled across the thickly forested site atop the Mogollon Rim, while a gaggle of politicians, anxious officials and forest experts watched.

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Pipeline, university site top council agenda

Payson continues to make progress on its two top priorities, building the C.C. Cragin pipeline to double the town’s water supply and building a university campus to bolster the year-round economy.

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Manager quits but salary continues

Payson will keep paying Galbraith’s $128,000 salary

The Payson Town Council has accepted a proposal from Town Manager Debra Galbraith to finish out her contract in a leave of absence.

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C.C. Cragin spigot on

SRP fixes pumps to feed East Verde

The Salt River Project has finally started putting C.C. Cragin Reservoir water into the East Verde River.

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Among the high velocity raptors

I take a ringside seat in Green Valley Park.

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Voden convicted of manslaughter

Jury rejects 2nd degree murder charge

A Gila County jury convicted Payson resident Mike Voden of manslaughter Friday afternoon following a one-week trial and brief deliberations.

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Payson approves fireworks contract

The Payson Town Council last week approved spending $10,000 in water department money to help pay for a $20,000 July 4 show, which annually draws tens of thousands of people to the region.

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Payson awards pipeline contract

$1.6 million job goes to local contractor

Payson has awarded a $1.5 million contract to build the next phase of the C.C. Cragin pipeline to a local contractor, plus another $158,000 contract to a local engineering firm to supervise the work.