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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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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.

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Vital airport area development extended

Council approves Payson Airport land exchange extension

The Payson Town Council last week gave the feuding owners of nearly 200 acres of empty land vital to the town’s housing future more time to work out their issues.

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Town moves to rezone university site

The Payson Town Council last week moved ahead to rezone a 253-acre Forest Service parcel so that it can only harbor an educational institution or related facilities.

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Juggling forest politics

State Forester Jeff Whitney chose his words carefully, like a man photographing bears.

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University land sale takes step forward

Alliance delivers first check

The Rim Country Educational Alliance Thursday took another concrete step toward buying the land to build a 6,000-student university campus in Payson.

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The monster of Green Valley Park revealed!

Daniel Flores got the thrill of the lifetime recently fishing at Green Valley Lake.

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Rodeo never loses its thrill

The bulls slobber and twist as the cowboys fly.

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The ugly Monster vs. The Dancing Trees

Turns out, Payson’s chock full of amiable, extras — seeking their gleeful 15 minutes of fame.

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Getting back to nature at the Wildlife Fair

The wind wafted. The kayakers paddled. The fisherman fiddled. The children tumbled. The dragon slumbered.

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Lawmakers lobbied to save watershed

High-powered, high-stakes forest tour

Payson has a vital interest in protecting the C.C. Cragin Reservoir watershed, but then so does the whole of the Valley, Salt River Project administrator Bruce Hallin told a high-powered gathering of lawmakers and local officials on Wednesday.

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Birth order, personality affect learning says counselor

Parent University offers tips on different learning styles

Kids got learning styles.

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Congressman wants tough measures

Representative Paul Gosar spoke Wednesday to the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, gathering up a heaping helping of praise from Payson Mayor Kenny Evans for helping the town cope with the federal government.

Shameful inaction

We wait. We watch the skies. We dread what awaits.

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Sale signed

Evans: Construction of university will start in fall

The Rim Country Educational Alliance Board this week signed the long-awaited purchase agreement for 253 acres of Forest Service land on which it will build a four-year university in Payson.

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Payson’s economy, sales still outperforming state

Area’s 8 percent rise double the state’s

Payson’s economy continued to outpace the state, but still slowed somewhat in April from the strong showing in March, according to Payson’s monthly sales and budget tracking report.

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Prank call spurred juvenile court reform

Gila County judge unearths, sets right, historic wrong

Mrs. Cook picked up the phone, with no sense of impending history.

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University land sale approved

Forest Service approves purchase agreement for 253-acre site

The US Forest Service has finally approved the long-awaited purchase agreement to sell a 253-acre parcel of land for a four-year university in Payson. Payson Mayor Kenny Evans announced the receipt of the purchase agreement at a crowded luncheon meeting of the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

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‘Historic’ day for restoration

Forest thinning plan regains crucial support

The Forest Service’s plan to use a revived timber industry to restore hundreds of thousands of acres of unhealthy forest and protect forested communities from wildfire has drawn broad support from environmentalists, foresters, researchers, local officials and industry.

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Payson sales up 13 percent as economy outstrips state

Payson’s economy boomed in March, with a cumulative 13 percent rise in sales tax collections since the start of the fiscal year last July.

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Rezone for college

Payson presses Forest Service for land sale

Payson has launched the rezoning of a 253-acre Forest Service parcel on which it plans to build a 6,000-student university. The rezoning would limit use of the land to educational purposes, which would include spin-off facilities crucial to the financing of the campus.

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Governor vetoes Rim lawmakers’ federal takeover bills

Different governor. Same result.

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Tragedy’s root

Drugs, alcohol spawn misery and death – especially for kids

In his 26 years as a cop, Joe Leduc has seen it all.

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The last run

A tale of age, ego and acceptance

“Maybe we ought to head down,” she said on the final day of my season of redemption.

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New charges urged for future rooftop solar power

Arizona Public Service wants to charge people who install new rooftop solar arrays an extra $21 a month to make sure they pay their “fair share” of the cost of the grid of power poles and transmission lines.

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Secretary of State hits ballot bundling

But Michele Reagan sees no hope of regulating dark money

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan brought to Rim Country her crusade to crack down on people who bundle up and turn in other people’s mail-in ballots, with an appearance before the Payson Tea Party — which continues to demonstrate its knack for getting statewide officials to show up in Payson.

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Common Core survives in Arizona

State will overhaul, but retain, national academic standards

The Senate deadlocked on a proposal to pull Arizona out of the national academic standards, with Rim Country’s representative Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) voting to drop implementation of the set of tests and standards generally referred to as Common Core.

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Court rules only charter cities can control own elections

Payson will not regain control of its own elections, despite a recent Arizona Supreme Court Ruling limiting the Legislature’s control over charter cities.

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Barton animal cruelty bill rebuffed

Governor objects to animal cruelty double standard

Gov. Doug Ducey this week vetoed Rep. Brenda Barton’s (R-Payson) bill setting different standards of animal cruelty for pets and farm animals.

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Senate kills gun bill

House had already passed law allowing guns in public buildings

Rep. Brenda Barton’s (R-Pay­son) bill allowing people with conceal weapons permits to bring their guns into most public buildings died on a 15-16 vote on the floor of the state Senate this week.

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Payson obtains $34 million for pipeline

Finally. Payson’s ready to build the pipeline from the C.C. Cragin Reservoir (formerly Blue Ridge).

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Wildfire reforms make it into budget

The just-adopted Senate Budget Resolution includes far-reaching reforms in how the federal government allocates money to fight wildfires.

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Forest restoration contractor struggling

Startup woes persist for largest thinning project in U.S. history

The company charged with the largest forest restoration project in history has encountered fresh difficulties, including a slow start in undertaking its vast thinning project and difficulties getting even its first, small-scale mill up and running.

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Congressman seeks to pull funding from Common Core

Federal proposals would eliminate grants to develop national academic standards

Rep. Paul Gosar, who represents Rim Country, last week joined with 33 other congressmen seeking the elimination of federal funding for national academic standards and testing, commonly referred to as “Common Core.”

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Gun battles

Lawmakers want to end many firearm restrictions

Rim Country’s representatives in the Legislature continue to take the lead in ensuring Arizona has among the most gun-friendly laws in the nation.

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Hospitals, doctors fear a budget disaster scenario

Arizona hospitals and doctors face a potential disaster scenario this year, with lawsuits and state proposals pending that could hit them hard on the bottom line.

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Gila trout finally coming home

Biologists plan to rid a three-mile stretch of Haigler Creek of non-native fish

The once-endangered, still-threatened Gila trout may soon return to Rim Country.

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Re-united front

Alliance favors joint land purchase for university site

The Rim Country Educational Alliance Thursday agreed to essentially share title to a 253-acre parcel on which it wants to build a 6,000-student university and spin-off facilities.

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Rim Country sales, tourism, construction surge

Real estate, leasing sector improving

Rim Country’s economy showed renewed signs of life in February, according to the latest Payson budget tracking report.

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C.C. Cragin refills quickly even in dry winter

Despite drought 100-foot-deep lake now filled

The C.C. Cragin Reservoir (formerly Blue Ridge) has reached 90 percent of its capacity, a measure of the reliability of the reservoir on which Rim Country’s economic future largely depends.

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Hospital merger

Banner pledges $25 million upgrade

The Mogollon Health Alliance, owner of Payson Regional Medical Center, has signed a letter of intent with Banner Health, which operates a national chain of hospitals and clinics.

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Alliance shakeup

Changes could clear way for purchase

The Payson Town Council on Thursday will likely replace Rim Country Educational Alliance Chairman Mary Kastner whose term is expiring with Payson Town Councilor Su Connell.

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Help for the best and brightest

Payson schools struggle to provide advanced classes

Payson schools were already struggling to provide advanced courses for its hardest working students when the budget blows and teacher shortages hit.

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An Exultation of Egrets

Grief and joy mingle in the shallows of Green Valley Lake

The egret stands motionless among the reeds in Green Valley Lake, waiting with infinite patience for a reckless trout to swim within range of its dagger beak.

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School districts grapple with auditor report

Payson spent $7,571 per student in 2014 — down slightly from the previous year and a full 41 percent below the national average.