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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Payson hosts event on solar energy

Solar Strong America will stage an event in Payson on Wednesday, July 20 to celebrate the benefits of rooftop solar installations.

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Forecast suggests monsoon may soon resume

All of Gila County has slipped back into “severe drought” according to the U.S. Forest Service, extending the fire season and prompting the Tonto National Forest to leave fire restrictions clamped into place.

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What a galaxy

Photographer DJ Craig captured the scatter of the Milky Way galaxy’s 400 billion stars in the clear night skies above Payson, with the glow of Phoenix on the hushed horizon.

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Firefighters battle house fire

Incidents tax police, fire departments

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office had a busy weekend — brush fires, rescues, an animal attack, and a hit and run.

Roundup’s old editor reflects on new owners

Here’s when I decided it will all work out.

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Time & lime(stone)

Down, down, down into the deep places

I scuttle, crablike, along the dark, wet limestone surface.

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Drowning, rain, fires on holiday

The hoards descended.

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Firefighters threatened as storms strike

The monsoon set in this week, with heavy rain, winds and lightning strikes that made for sometimes dangerous conditions on the fire line — and an unpredictable holiday weekend for visitors.

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A perfect holiday weekend

Wow. July 4th? Already? How’d that happen?

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Monsoon to the rescue

Storms douse wildfires

Monsoon storms gusted into Northern Arizona this week, dousing wildfires, dropping temperatures and relieving residents.

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A passion for education

Roy Sandoval launches county schools campaign advocating change

Longtime educator Roy Sandoval launched his campaign for Gila County School Superintendent with an impassioned call for higher test scores, stronger principals and fewer excuses, speaking this week before the Payson Tea Party.

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Ban on cross-country, off-road travel spurs furor

Travel management plan would shut down 1,300 miles of existing roads and trails

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

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McCain blames president for attack – then back pedals

Senator John McCain stumbled into a flare of controversy last week when he told reporters President Barack Obama was “directly responsible” for the attack by Omar Mateen on a gay nightclub in Florida that killed 49 people.

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Tragic lessons

Show Low’s close escape in the face of the explosive growth of the Cedar Fire underscores the tragic lessons seared into the minds of firefighters three years ago, when the Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19 Prescott firefighters.

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Free Concert in the Park series draws a lively crowd

The local country band Bon Fire delighted a large crowd in Green Valley Park on a perfect summer night, part of Payson’s free, Concert in the Park series.

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Wildfires menace Show Low as heat wave gathers

Dangerous fire season now picks up momentum

With Show Low on the brink of evacuation, firefighters continue to work to contain a host of wildfires.

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Evans stumps for supervisor seat

Stresses north-south equity and economic development

Payson Mayor Kenny Evans wants to jump ship for a seat on the Gila County Board of Supervisors to focus on economic development for the entire county.

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Hughes launches campaign

Faces Swartwood in Payson mayoral contest

Payson Vice Mayor Michael Hughes answered a flood of questions on water and other issues in an appearance before the Payson Tea Party that effectively launched his campaign for mayor.

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Brace for the Monsoon

First cool, then hot on fire lines

Wet, cool weather has helped firefighters tame blazes throughout the state, but the return of fierce, dry winds and record-breaking heat could whip blazes up again this week.

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Population boom came long before collapse

Study charts rise and fall of civilizations in the ancient Southwest

A centuries-long baby boom unmatched in modern times in the ancient Southwest ended in an also unprecedented, drought-triggered population collapse, according to a new study by researchers from Washington State University.

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The wind, The stream, The tanager, and the perfect day

An improvised hike to See Canyon Spring ends with a splash & a lesson

I’d pretty much blown the day.

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APS seeks 8 percent rate hike

Furor about elections, dark money, solar energy, dominate

Just for practice: Turn off the air conditioner. Never mind the heat wave.

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Salvage logging can reduce danger for decades

Study shows dead and dying trees can leave plenty of wood for fires

Massive fires that rage through the ponderosa pine forest leave a haunted wasteland in their wake.

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Wildfire: A dangerous tool

Forest Service struggling to turn wildfires into a management tool in dense, unhealthy forest

The thousands of acres on fire all across Rim Country in the record-heat for early June offer a stark illustration of the transformation of the Forest Service’s approach to wildfires in the past decade.

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Legal wrangles tangle up Prop. 123 money for schools

Questions remain about distribution of $230 million to schools in June

Voters approved Proposition 123’s boost in school funding, but controversy persists.

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Wildfire forces Yarnell evacuations

A 3,300-acre wildfire on the east side of Yarnell has forced the evacuation of 300 residents and consumed three structures.

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Pretty smoke ... dangerous fires

Fire restrictions imposed

Hot, dry conditions, hoards of campers and a rash of fires this week prompted Tonto National Forest to impose fire restrictions on 4 million acres — including all of Rim Country.

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Lawmaker decries monuments, refugees

Rep. Bob Thorpe stressed his efforts as a state lawmaker to fight the federal government in a recent appearance before the Payson Tea Party.

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Bear drawn by trash claws camper in Young

A man in his 20s was injured early Wednesday morning when a bear scratched him through his sleeping bag in a dispersed camping area near Cherry Creek in Young.

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Incompetence? Or something even worse?

The Greasy Pole

Can’t help but wonder — Which side is Secretary of State Michele Reagan on?

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‘Dark money’ laws loosen regulations on special interests

Lawmakers’ ploy designed to frustrate referendum

The U.S. Supreme Court upended campaign finance reform several years ago with its controversial Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to virtually unlimited corporate and special interest campaign spending without even having to disclose the source of the money.

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Supervisor candidate decries ‘illegals’

Woody Cline faces off against Kenny Evans for crucial seat

Payson Mayor Kenny Evans will face off against Young rancher Woody Cline for the Republican nomination to try to unseat District 3 Gila County Supervisor John Marcanti, running as a Democrat.

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Memorial Day evokes memories

Gila County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Binney spoke carefully, precisely, with pride and pain contending for control. Hundreds of hushed listeners gathered for Memorial Day services at the War Memorial in Green Valley Park on Monday morning and bore witness to his testimony, on a sun-dappled day.

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Lawmaker debates school funding

Upbeat budget summary turns into argument about education

State House Representative Brenda Barton offered an upbeat summary of the state budget deliberations at a meeting of the Payson Tea Party, where she also gathered signatures for her re-election campaign.

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C.C. Cragin watershed gets some help

The U.S. Bureau of Reclama­tion will provide $76,000 to help do the studies and planning for a project to protect the watershed of the 64,000-acre C.C. Cragin watershed with a combination of thinning projects and controlled burns.

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Fire flares for Memorial Day

Wildfire a benefit, not a bane in cool weather

Firefighters continued to monitor and direct a 2,500-acre fire burning near Young that has put out so much smoke the Forest Service has closed a large area of the forest and set up guide cars to move people safely along smoky roads.

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Spring fires already setting a record across the West

The U.S. may set another damaging wildfire record this year, with spring fires claiming five times as much acreage as last year — which itself set a record.

Crews monitoring fire

Lightning caused fire near Pine alarms residents

On Friday, Forest Service crews watchfully monitored a low-intensity ground fire atop the Mogollon Rim north of Pine.

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Prop. 123 wins by a whisker

Proposition 123 won by a whisker, assuring Payson teachers of an average 4 percent raise after a seven-year pay freeze.

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Averting disaster

So, here’s the good news.

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Lunker alert!

Shhhhhh – Don’t tell anyone about the Wildlife Fair

Don’t read this.

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The fine print of Proposition 123

If voters approve Proposition 123, local property taxes will likely increase by about $48,000, due to the complexities of how the state calculates aid to schools, Payson Unified School District Superintendent Greg Wyman told the Payson Tea Party in a recent appearance.

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Police pensions in crisis

Proposition 124 will stabilize underfunded public safety plan

The retirement system for Arizona firefighters and police officers faces a $40 billion problem.

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Schools hope for the best

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.

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Corporation Commission candidate blasts ‘corrupt’ system

Bill Mundell decries impact of dark money on regulators

The system’s corrupt.

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Prop. 123 assailed as raid on trust fund

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.

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Raises for teachers

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.

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Senate candidate focused on state education funding

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.

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State budget battles

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.

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News on your mobile phone

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.