Back to profile

Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

Tease photo

Surviving Iwo Jima

Rim Country veterans recall both triumph and terror in one of worst battles in history

Larry Norton crouched behind a cluster of tall, shell-blasted volcanic stones on Iwo Jima, staring anxiously out across the hellish landscape toward where two wounded Marines lay bleeding.

Tease photo

Controversial voucher bill stalled

Plan to divert hundreds of millions to private schools stuck

A Senate-approved bill that would make virtually any student in the state eligible for a tax-payer provided voucher to attend private school may not make it through the House, say observers.

Tease photo

Logger still struggling

The contractor charged with the largest forest restoration project in history has both trumpeted its progress — and suffered another setback.

Tease photo

New limit on Fossil Creek visits

Forest Service will now allow just 148 cars per day

The Forest Service will impose a $6 entrance fee and require advanced reservations to visit Fossil Creek starting May 1.

Tease photo

Doctor challenges Sen. McCain in Republican primary

Kelli Ward offers radically conservative proposals

Former state senator Dr. Kelli Ward brought her insurgent crusade to unseat fellow Republican U.S. Senator John McCain to Payson this week, with a wide-ranging attack on McCain. She spent hours of patiently answering questions posed by members of the Payson Tea Party.

Tease photo

Gym safe – still

State officials say added tests in Pine reveal no health risk from mercury

The problematic Pine Elementary School gym passed the latest mercury monitoring test with flying colors, according to state officials.

Tease photo

Controlled burns to continue

Rim Country residents can expect more large, controlled burns this week to create a buffer zone around forested communities.

Tease photo

Safest of cities

20th lowest crime rate in state

Payson ranked as one of the 20 safest cities in Arizona in a statewide, city-by-city rating system developed by SafeWise.

Tease photo

El Niño wimps out

Stay tuned for March madness

The mighty El Niño wimped out.

Tease photo

School job training money restored

House, Senate vie for credit for reversing cuts voted last year

Gov. Doug Ducey this week quickly signed a bill to restore funding for vocational education throughout Arizona.

Tease photo

Forest Service wants to speed up 4FRI thinning

The U.S. Forest Service will invest another $100 million over the next 10 years in an effort to accelerate the largest forest restoration project in history.

Tease photo

Auditor rates Payson Arizona Region's schools highly

Payson schools have seen better student achievement with fewer dollars than comparable school districts, according to the annual report card of Arizona’s school districts by the Auditor General’s Office.

Tease photo

Telemedicine comes to Rim Country

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.

Tease photo

Plenty of Water: Payson will get 3,000 acre-feet a year from reservoir in 2018

The construction of the pipeline that will more than double Payson’s long-term water supply went into high gear in 2015, with completion of the in-town sections and work well under way on the 14-mile stretch of pipe along the East Verde between Washington Park and Payson.

Tease photo

Payson water future faces frightening peril

Forest Service wants to protect 100-square-mile watershed from crown fires

The U.S. Forest Service this week released the details of a plan to dramatically thin 64,000 acres of hillside forest to protect the C.C. Cragin Reservoir and surrounding communities from the effects of a catastrophic wildfire.

Tease photo

House moves to restore vocational education money

Committee votes to put back $30 million after talks with governor

A key House committee this week voted to restore almost all of the $30 million lawmakers cut from the budget for job training programs last year.

Tease photo

Pine, Young gym floor tests scheduled

Measuring mercury risk

The rubberized gym floor in the Pine Strawberry School on Feb. 16 will get another test to make sure it’s not emitting worrisome levels of mercury gas, the Department of Environmental Quality confirmed on Thursday.

Tease photo

ASU now pondering Mesa campus

Arizona State University and the City of Mesa have unveiled their plans to open another branch campus there.

Tease photo

Pension deal progress

Senate plan to limit police, fire benefits needs approval of House and voters

The Arizona Senate has adopted a landmark plan to save the state pension system for police officers and firefighters from bankruptcy, but the measure faces an uncertain future in the House.

Tease photo

Gym said safe

Frustrated Pine parents decry exposure of kids to mercury

Trace amounts of mercury rising from the Pine-Strawberry School gym floor pose absolutely no risk to children, state representatives and experts assured worried parents this week.

Tease photo

4FRI: Painfully slow progress

Good Earth years behind schedule, but plans to thin 16,000 acres in 2016

This year logging trucks will drive 6.7 million miles hauling 823,000 tons of wood harvested from 16,000 acres as part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.

Tease photo

State’s $10 billion budget debate grows with the surplus

Governor’s proposed 1.4 percent increase draws praise, criticism

Gov. Doug Ducey’s austere budget features a 1.4 percent increase in spending, $1 billion in reserves, more tax cuts and the elimination of the once-massive “structural deficit.”

Tease photo

Schools face budget chaos

New state funding formula could inflict more pain on districts with declining enrollment

In a perfectly awful fiscal storm, changes in state budgeting could have a crushing impact on Payson Unified School District if the opening of a charter school this year causes a big dip in enrollment.

Tease photo

Arizona’s school funding still dead last

State spending on education 31 percent below national average

Arizona ranks dead last in state support for K-12 schools, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Tease photo

Arizona university cutbacks continue

Ducey budget would change 5-year trend

Arizona remains one of only two states in the nation still cutting state funding for higher education several years into the economic recovery, according to a state-by-state survey by the Center for the Study of Education Policy.

Tease photo

Legislative revolt

Lawmakers push for vocational funds

A legislative revolt is brewing against a proposed $30 million cut in vocational training for K-12 schools.

Tease photo

Let the MONSTER Go, kiddo

White amur’s better for weed control than as a main course

This young angler pulled this monster out of Green Valley Lake recently, a fish big enough to double as his younger brother.

Tease photo

Gotta love this grandpa gig

But don’t promise to take them sledding if you don’t own a sled

Seth seemed kinda worried.

Tease photo

Strange and unexpected political news

The Greasy Pole

Voters may face two ballot issues that would work huge changes in the state’s politics.

Tease photo

Non-profits join forces

School board recognizes group

Attempting to unify a discordant gathering of rebels convened as the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin once declared: “Gentlemen. If we do not hang together, we shall most assuredly hang separately.”

Tease photo

New kid in town

Young eagle looking for love delights Green Valley visitors

Green Valley Park has a new star — a young bald eagle still in his juvenile plumage.

Tease photo

Helping children read crucial

PCK partners with schools

First there was the word.

Tease photo

University site work continues

The push to build a university campus in Payson continues to advance, with architects and engineers working on plans for the infrastructure and conversations continuing with Arizona State University.

Tease photo

Payson students lack basic skills in reading, math

Tests show less than half have adequate reading skills

Payson students start off making big gains in reading and math in the lower grades, but by middle school and high school, fewer than half have the skills they need in reading and math to cope with their classes, according to a sobering tracking test of basic skills presented to the school board on Monday.

Tease photo

Gov. Ducey promises to cut taxes

Gov. Doug Ducey promised more tax cuts and a strong economy, but offered little added encouragement for schools, universities and other groups hoping the state will use its growing surplus to restore deep cuts made in recent years.

Tease photo

Charter school protested

Alliance lease approval process remains unclear

The Rim Country Educational Alliance board members silently listened on Thursday as Payson Unified School Board President Barbara Underwood and others urged them to reject a proposal to lease 10 acres on the 253-acre university site to a charter school.

Tease photo

Heroin epidemic claims another life in Payson

The heroin epidemic in Rim Country apparently claimed another life this week when police found the body of a young Tucson man in the Days Inn Hotel on the Beeline Highway.

Tease photo

The secret to happiness

A writer in snowshoes puts the theories to the test

The snow drifted down.

Tease photo

Disaster spawned a disastrous policy

The worst fire in the nation’s history brought out both the best and the worst in human beings.

Tease photo

Fighting wildfires may do more harm than good

Forest fires the U.S. Forest Service has extinguished for decades would have provided much better protection from even worse fires had they been allowed to burn, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Tease photo

The dry and dusty death of civilizations

Studies show climate shifts have played a role in the rise and fall of human populations for 10,000 years — and may have depopulated the Southwest

Shifts in the climate have dominated human population growth and the rise and fall of civilizations for 10,000 years — including the complex civilizations that rose and fell across the Southwest.

Tease photo

School funding settlement debate swirls

Backers of a school spending ballot measure that would settle an inflation funding lawsuit have raised nearly $500,000 to convince voters in May to approve the plan to boost school funding by about $350 million annually.

Tease photo

Teen use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes drops

But marijuana remains the glaring exception

Great news: Teen drug use declined in 2015 — including the use of opiate pain relievers and heroin, which have risen alarmingly among Payson teens in recent years.

Tease photo

Still talking

Report: Universities need 60,000 additional students

Arizona’s three universities have announced an ambitious plan to make room for 60,000 more students in the next decade and appealed to the Arizona Legislature for added support.

Tease photo

Why won’t people Firewise property?

Many of the people facing the worst danger due to overgrown lots are the least likely to participate in efforts to Firewise their homes — to protect themselves and their neighbors.

Tease photo

Voters to decide on pension plan

Deal near to put overhaul of soaring, underfunded public safety retirement plan on ballot

A plan to overhaul the state’s costly, overstressed pension system for public safety workers may end up on the ballot in May alongside a plan to settle an inflation lawsuit involving the state’s schools.

Tease photo

Political twists and turns: Education, Endorsements and Scandals

The Greasy Pole

Our own Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) offered all kinds of encouraging tidbits for educators upon taking over as head of the Senate Education Committee, making her one of the three most powerful people in the state when it comes to education policy.

Tease photo

Snowpack ponderings

Fresh snow, fresh questions

The mist fades, the planet spins, the dawn spreads.

Tease photo

How far did Hohokam reach?

Researcher thinks they dominated Southwest for centuries

The Hohokam who built hundreds of miles of irrigation canals in Phoenix also created the most advanced civilization in the Southwest — a peaceful, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic economic system stretching from New Mexico to California that persisted for 600 years, according to a provocative new theory advanced by a University of California, Berkeley researcher.

Tease photo

Child abuse deaths rise

Department of Child Safety remains in disarray

The number of Arizona children killed as a result of abuse and neglect has climbed 24 percent since 2009, as the effort to reform the agency charged with protecting children from abuse flounders.