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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Endangered chubs roil the waters

Push to merge three fish species into one provokes loud protest

A chub, by any other name, would be what exactly?

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Residents grapple with Tonto Forest’s plan

A forest on the edge

About 40 Rim Country residents last week puzzled their way through an attempt to explain the enormous complexity and impact of the Tonto National Forest’s effort to overhaul it’s plan to manage 3 million acres of drought-plagued, insect-tormented, loved-to-death forest.

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State’s teacher shortage slides toward crisis

Payson filled its slots, but 2,000 jobs remain vacant

The Payson Unified School District managed to fill all its empty teaching positions this year.

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Still burning

Firefighters completed burnout operations for the 2,266-acre Fulton Fire, burning just below the Rim.

Pine Strawberry water board wades through complaints

Water leaks, outages rile speakers at PSWID meeting

The Pine Strawberry water board meeting last week turned into an hours-long effort to handle disputes about leaks, outages, sodden washes harboring mosquitoes and other issues.

Rumsey thinning will slash fire risk

Payson Town Council approves $19,000 project

Rumsey Park is due for a haircut. Maybe a buzz cut. The Payson Town Council this week approved a proposed $19,000 project to thin the trees and brush in Rumsey Park to reduce fire danger.

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APS rejects request for disclosure of political spending records

The empire strikes back

Arizona Public Service not only rejected an Arizona Corporation commissioner’s request to look at the company’s records, it has now filed suit to recover legal fees related to that request.

Improvement district will clear way for 150-home project near Walmart in Payson

Payson took the first step toward setting up an improvement district to provide roads and infrastructure for a proposed subdivision on West Rumsey Drive, near Walmart.

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Water board rebuffs ex board member

Realtor Ray Pugel wanted $2,300 reduction in his bill

The Pine Strawberry water board last week rejected Realtor Ray Pugel’s effort to cut his water bill by about $2,300.

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Rim Country firefighters set backfires

Wildfires burning across Rim Country continue to alarm many residents, while dramatizing the shift in the Forest Service approach to managing fire.

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Council approves $116,000 increase in contract for the C.C. Cragin pipeline

The Payson Town Council this week approved a $116,000 add-on to the contract for the C.C. Cragin pipeline to account for the stretched-out construction schedule.

Almost all PUSD teachers will qualify for 'Merit Pay' bonus

Almost all of the teachers in the Payson Unified School District can expect to get a roughly $2,500 “merit pay” boost this year, under the formula approved last week by the Payson School Board.

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Lawmakers score poorly on schools

Rim Country’s state representatives fared poorly when it comes to support for public education in a report released by education advocacy groups.

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Aspire Arizona covered tuition for 100 Payson students

Donations top $50,000 to help teens in Payson High School get college credit

So far, 100 Payson High School students have received free or nearly free college classes — thanks to an innovative partnership involving Payson Unified School District, Gila Community College and the Aspire Arizona Foundation.

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Lightning caused Fulton Fire caused alarm in Rim Country this weekend

The lightning-caused Fulton Fire this week continued to cause problems for people driving on Highway 260, 25 miles east of Payson, and alarm Rim Country residents as a result of widespread smoke.

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Scores plunge in high school

AzMERIT: Good, band & UGLY

Happy glimmers of good news for the Payson Unified School District gleam in the latest AzMERIT test scores.

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Get ready for winter! (or at least fall)

Roundup editor Peter Aleshire took this picture of the Rim in snow last winter.

We added to her anguish

Vera Eccles came by the office this week, very upset. She’d suffered a terrible trauma — and we made it worse.

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Climate change: The timer on the bomb for Arizona State's forests

The forests of Northern Arizona remain dreadfully vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to the just-released draft of an overhaul of the Tonto National Forest’s master plan.

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See and be seen at Gila County Fair

The Northern Gila County Fair this weekend showcased crafts, art and prizewinning steers, goats, pigs and lord knows what all. For more on the county fair, see Friday’s Roundup.

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The Perseid meteor shower - a hurdle of wonders

We shuffled into the backyard with a beach towel and sleepy expectations, hours of deep dark from the dawn.

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Weird weather reported worldwide

Hot, wet, weird year — all across the country. Rim Country enjoyed one of its wettest monsoons on record, although the forecast calls for things to dry out for the rest of the week — with highs around 80.

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Payson Students' scores rise, but still bleak

Payson students making gains but still lag behind

Payson students have made solid progress in math, English and science, but still often lag behind the state average, according to the latest AzMERIT test scores.

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Arizona’s bald eagles set a new population record this year

Arizona’s bald eagles set a new population record this year with 65 pairs of eagles producing 78 chicks. The unique population of desert-nesting eagles has steadily expanded its nesting areas in the past 20 years, despite the removal of endangered species protection several years ago.

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Dark money rears its ugly head

The intense, high-stakes, dark-money-dominated cam­paign for three seats on the Arizona Corporation Com­mission lurched through the primary election last week and into an even more contentious general election.

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Incumbents smother rebellions

Arizona Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Gosar both survived unexpectedly strong challenges in their Republican primary contests for re-election.

Pine-Strawberry School District School Stipends

Pine relies on donations to pay coaches, clubs, advisers

The 110-student Pine-Strawberry School District has a couple of things in common with the 2,400-student Payson Unified School District.

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More studies for massive mine near Superior

Tailings could cover 4,400 acres, leave 1.8-mile-wide, 1,000-foot-deep hole

The Tonto National Forest will start gathering information on the environmental impact of what may become the world’s largest copper mine — not to mention a humongous hole in the ground.

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Commissioner subpoenas APS

Burns trying to force utility to reveal political spending

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns’ lonely crusade to force Arizona Public Service to disclose its dark money spending took another turn this week when he issued a subpoena to force the million-customer utility to turn over its records.

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Rep. Gosar decries legal threats for endangered species

Environmental group seeking long-delayed ruling on 417 species

Rep. Paul Gosar this week renewed his war with the Center for Biological Diversity, blasting the Flagstaff-based group for filing lawsuits on behalf of endangered species.

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Arizona legislative candidates stress education, economy

Martinez, Bagley will challenge incumbents representing Rim Country

Lawmakers must support Arizona’s educational system for the state to prosper, two Democratic legislative candidates insisted at a recent Payson fundraiser.

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Democrat mounts longshot bid to unseat Gosar

Weisser stressed education, immigration in effort to unseat Rep. Gosar

Democratic congressional candidate Mikel Weisser brought to Payson recently his longshot crusade to unseat Republican Rep. Paul Gosar.

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Children having a rough time in Arizona

Terrible ranking for kids

Kids have it rough in Arizona — especially if their folks aren’t rich. Arizona ranks near the bottom nationally on a host of measurements of child welfare, in a national study released this week by WalletHub.

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Commission candidates blast APS

Democrats say utility trying to crush solar, jack up electric rates

Arizona Corporation Com­mission candidate Tom Chabin accused Arizona Public Service of corrupting the commission by spending between $3 million and $8 million on a dark money campaign.

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Pine grapples with new policies on guns, student gender identity

The Pine School Board focused on a host of new policies this week, including a policy to prevent discrimination against transgender students and a new state policy that would prevent schools from preventing people from carrying guns on public right of way adjacent to school grounds.

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Deluge. Floodwaters close Tonto Creek and East Verde Estates Crossings

Tonto Creek and the East Verde flooded crossings, Green Valley Park lakes overflowed and even the ASU Sun Devils ran for cover.

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Kirkpatrick blasts McCain

Trump an issue in Senate race

Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick brought her campaign to unseat incumbent U.S. Senator John McCain to Payson last week, with a rousing speech at a fundraiser staged by Rim Country Democrats before opening her local headquarters.

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Furor in Arizona senate race

McCain blasts Trump, prompting round of criticism from all sides in tight race

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest firebomb has set off a crown fire in the crucial Arizona U.S. Senate race.

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Spotted owls complicate thinning

The mysterious and often confusing needs of Mexican spotted owls play a key role in developing the blueprint for thinning more than a million acres of Rim Country forests.

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Dark Money issue splits Arizona Corporation Commission candidates

Three Republican candidates for the Arizona Corporation Commission took starkly different positions on whether to force Arizona Public Service to disclose the millions it reportedly spent to influence the commission race two years ago.

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Lightning-caused fires atop the Mogollon Rim mostly helping forest

Letting it burn

Monsoon storms first started a rash of fires — then turned them into a blessing. The lightning-caused fires atop the Rim last week behaved themselves despite the blustery monsoon winds, thanks to the welcome rains.

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North Rim of the Grand Canyon still on fire

The 14,500-acre Fuller Fire near Point Imperial on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon continued to burn over the weekend.

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Monsoon revives Payson's Rim Country

Storms batter Phoenix but tame Rim Country wildfires

The monsoon has gotten back on track, just in time to dampen a host of wildfires burning across Northern Arizona.

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Can we save Rim Country's forest?

One stark conclusion emerged from the recent Payson session on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative — on which the future of every single Rim Country community depends.

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Minister challenges Rep. Gosar

Strauss mounts challenge in the primary

Minister turned congressional candidate Ray Strauss once more brought his longshot insurgency to Rim Country, with a meet-the-public gathering this week at Tiny’s Restaurant.

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Former commissioner decries effort to ‘kill solar’

Dark money, solar make election ‘most important’ in state history

“I believe this is the most important election in the history of Arizona,” said former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes of the campaign to fill three seats on the utility-regulating commission in the shadow of a debate about solar energy and dark money.

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Challenger blasts Sen. McCain

Fresh from the Republican National Convention, Dr. Kelli Ward renewed her slash-and-burn attack on Arizona Sen. John McCain — who skipped the convention crowning Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.

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Democrat leads in congressional fundraising

The intense race to fill the Flagstaff congressional seat vacated by Ann Kirkpatrick yielded some surprising news last week, with word that Democrat Tom O’Halleran has a big financial lead over the crowd of Republicans vying for the seat, according to just released campaign finance reports.

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Thinning may cut greenhouse gas

Method may generate money for restoration

Thin a forest.

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A wet blessing

Streams we’ve battered and abused have new hope of restoration

The gurgle.