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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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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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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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School offers free parent sessions on crucial topics

Worried about people bullying your kid at school?

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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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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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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.

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Controversy swirls around Huppenthal

Republican primary for state superintendent seat focused on flip-flops, Common Core

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal continues to wage a confusing and controversial struggle to keep his job against a fierce primary challenge that turns on his on-again-off-again-on-again support for the adoption of federal academic standards and assessments.

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Sylvia Allen seeks to fill senate seat

Navajo County Supervisor and former state senator Sylvia Allen has emerged as the leading candidate to run for the state senate seat left vacant after the accidental death of Sen. Chester Crandell.

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Senator Crandell’s death overshadows campaign

The death of state Sen. Chester Crandell last week threw the already unusual race in the district that includes Northern Gila County into deep uncertainty.

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‘Dark money’ casts shadow on secretary of state race

The normally quiet secretary of state race has gotten unexpectedly controversial — and personal this year.

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Attorney general’s legal woes throw race wide open

Beset by legal and personal troubles, Attorney General Tom Horne has waged a dogged struggle to keep his job in the Republican primary against former state gaming director Mark Brnovich.

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Almost Shakespearean

The struggle between Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and challenger Randy Roberson after months of wounding accusation and indignant response has increasingly become a struggle almost Shakespearean — even biblical. It’s a wrenching tale of envy and ego — great strengths turned somehow to weakness.

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Service set for Sen. Chester Crandell

Mourners will gather on Saturday to “say goodbye friend and a great Arizonan” at the funeral in Heber for Sen. Chester Crandell, who died this weekend as a result of a fall from a horse.

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Rush to the right in shroud of dark money

Six Republicans with diverse views and experience vie for nomination in governor’s race, as negative attacks and outside money dominate debate

An avalanche of TV commercials in the Valley many of them funded by undisclosed outside interests has finally allowed state treasurer Doug Ducey and former Go-Daddy executive Christine Jones to break out of the six tightly bunched contenders for the Republican nomination for governor.

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Fred DuVal: Democrat awaits outcome of Republican battle

The former head of the Arizona Board of Regents and longtime political fixer and consultant also worked in the Bill Clinton White House. He has run up the middle in his positions so far, sharply criticizing the Obama administration for the unexpected crisis caused by the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied children from South America and calling for targeted tax cuts to attract high-tech businesses.

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Ducey brings governor’s campaign to Payson

Heavy spending and outside groups help treasurer move into lead

Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey has finally shot out ahead in the crowded Republican governor’s race like a bright red skeet — and you can hear the shotguns blasting away.

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Got, got, got no time

A persistent friend, a trickle of a river and a perfect day

If I’d had Jack’s phone number, I surely would have canceled. Dude, I’m way too busy to go fishing at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon — with the rodeo tab and the election tab and Lord knows what all to do.

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Rep. Gosar: No fish hatchery shifts without congressional vote

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee recently approved a bill by U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar to put a temporary halt to the closure of any more federally operated fish hatcheries.

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Horse camp saved

Revised plan still creates staging areas for ORVs, bars stream camping

The Tonto National Forest has abandoned a controversial proposal to convert the Houston Mesa Horse Camp into a camp for off-roaders.

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Slow progress on fire protection sparks debate

Payson mayor stresses complexity, challenger criticizes delay

Payson’s painfully slow, but careful consideration of a wildfire-adapted building code has been doused as an election issue by the vigorous debate about water policy — but it still draws a contrast between the two candidates for mayor.

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Auditor wants PSWID evidence

The state auditor general’s office has asked the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District for a host of documents in connection with the peculiar way the district bought and installed 13 generators for well pumps in 2011.

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Strange political twist

Turns out, most campaign signs in town ‘illegal’

Last week’s flap over an independent group’s campaign signs had a surprising result: Turns out, virtually every campaign sign in town is illegal.

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Blue Ridge pipeline shut off as reservoir empties

SRP predicts winter will refill it

The Salt River Project last week shut down the Blue Ridge pipeline’s discharge into the East Verde River weeks early after virtually emptying the reservoir.

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Payson launches annexation plan

The Payson Town Council last week took the first step toward annexing an 80-acre parcel for a light industrial park, despite the qualms of residents who spoke.

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Sen. Chester Crandell found dead

Fall from horse may have killed Rim Country representative

Family members found the body of state Sen. Chester Crandell on a ranch Thursday morning after he was apparently thrown from a horse, according to Navajo County Sheriff K. C. Clark and Chief Deputy Jim Molessa.

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Wolves may come to Payson

Plan would add region to reintroduction area

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a revised proposal to save the endangered Mexican gray wolf by including all of Rim Country in a sprawling, two-state area where it could introduce new wolf packs.

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Air show cancellation for lack of insurance prompts criticism

Problems with insurance coverage have prompted cancellation of the Payson Aero Fair, which for years has offered kids rides in small planes manned by volunteer pilots.

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Forests at a terrible tipping point

Conference looks at Schultz Fire as an example of the peril to forested communities

Wildfires pose a dire threat to forested communities which only regional efforts and a dramatic shift in forest management can avert, expert speakers told a statewide audience at a Flagstaff conference on forest health and wildfires sponsored by Arizona Forward on Friday.

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Praying for light as the storm gathers

A photographer finds a strange truth in the quest for sunset amongst the ruins of Wupatki

The gathering storm matched my mood: I was sore afflicted — and full of trouble.

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Poor rich people and dark money

The Greasy Pole

Man, it’s getting weird out there.

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Health insurance expansion tangled in court

State lawmakers seek to reverse coverage for 300,000

Lawsuits, contradictory court rulings and election politics continue to bedevil the Affordable Healthcare Act, even now that it’s up and running.

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Site shopping

Alliance studying costs of four sites for university

The Rim Country Educational Alliance has hired the Tetra Tech engineering firm to provide a detailed analysis of four possible university sites, including the preferred 253-acre Forest Service-owned parcel on which the Alliance will get an appraisal in the next few weeks.

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Thinning contract: ‘A monumental task’

The logging company many hope will protect forested communities from catastrophic wildfires continues to struggle to marshal a massive effort, but hasn’t yet cut much, participants at a conference on Forest Health learned last week.

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Forest Service now letting fires burn

The smoke that this week poured down off the Rim from two fires totaling 5,000 acres marks a striking shift in Forest Service fire strategy in an urgent effort to prevent community and forest-destroying wildfires.

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Flood of Controversy

Tower Well, Blue Ridge again bubble into politics

Two years after council members from neighboring towns declared the water wars at an end, Payson’s ongoing use of the Tower Well in Star Valley has bubbled up into the council campaigns in both towns.