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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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.