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Pete Aleshire

Stories by Pete

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Forecast prompts sigh of relief from water managers

El Niño promises wet monsoon, winter

The El Niño conditions in the Pacific didn’t save Rim Country from a dry spring — but it should yield a wet summer and snowy winter, according to the latest projections from the National Weather Service.

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Forest restoration gains ground

4FRI contractor opens a mill, returns to forest

The stalled Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) picked up steam in June with the opening of a new mill in Williams, the reopening of the forest to thinning projects, the addition of a second shift to a mill in Heber and plans for a new, high-tech, small log mill in Williams.

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Fire codes prove their value

Building codes, Firewise can save lives, property

This item should come as no surprise to anyone.

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Forest Road 300 offers soothing dose of historic scenery

The view off the meander of Forest Road 300 stretches for 100 miles and 100 years, following the wagon road General George Crook blazed in the wrenching war with the Apache Indians that defined American history and character.

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In search of the perfect fishing hole

I stand stalwart with my fly rod in the mighty East Verde, entertaining the hatchery trout to the best of my haphazard abilities.

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Banner/MHA complete $40 million merger

The Mogollon Health Alliance and Banner Health on Friday completed their merger, with enormous implications for health care in Rim Country, the Payson university project and educational and health care charitable initiatives.

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U.S. Supreme Court upholds health care law

Arizona representatives blast decision

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that thousands of Gila County residents won’t lose health care coverage.

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4FRI contractor struggles with lack of trucks, money

Criticism swirls around painfully slow progress

Debate continues to swirl around the painfully slow progress in the largest forest restoration forest restoration effort in U.S. history.

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Wildfires flare

Crews contain most blazes

Wildfires continue to burn throughout Arizona, but most pose little threat to structures, people or the forest.

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Wildfires continue to burn

Firefighters have blazes contained

Wildfires continue to burn throughout Arizona, but most don’t pose a threat to structures, people or the forest. The Forest Service is letting several of the larger fires burn to thin brush and actually boost forest health.

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Dude Fire: Learning from tragedy’s lessons

Their fate was sealed five miles overhead as the top of the roiling mushroom cloud of hot air began to disintegrate.

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Saving the C.C. Cragin watershed

Mind the spotted owls. And the goshawks too.

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Fire danger rises along with calls for reform

Federal officials deploy 10,000 wildlands firefighters

Despite a mild fire season so far in Rim Country, federal officials say they expect a rough fire season throughout the West.

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Governor: Use lands trust

Gov. Doug Ducey last week proposed injecting an extra $300 million annually into the state’s spending on K-12 education by taking more money out of the state lands trust.

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Forest Service wants to bar cars from Fossil Creek

The U.S. Forest Service wants to cut off almost all access to Fossil Creek by car to protect the unique, spring-fed stream from the impact of some 100,000 visitors a year.

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June miracle: Let it burn

Now, here’s how weird things are this year. When lightning started a fire north of Strawberry this week — the Forest Service decided to let it burn.

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Forest Service seeks ideas on ‘sustainable recreation’

Would you rather save an endangered species — or keep the public from visiting a beautiful spring?

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Senate challenger brings tough-talking campaign to Payson

State Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward seeks to unseat Sen. John McCain

The doctor-turned-state-senator challenging Sen. John McCain for his U.S. Senate seat brought her plucky, long-shot campaign to Payson with an appearance before the Payson Tea Party last week.

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University cuts pose threat, opportunity for Payson

Arizona suffers deepest cutbacks, highest tuition hikes in the nation

Arizona cut support for universities deeper than any other state during the recession, triggering the steepest tuition hikes in the country, according to a just-released report from the national Center for Budget Priorities.

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Sales booming, construction lagging

Tax receipts up 8 percent, outpacing state

Payson’s economy continues to outperform the state’s, according to the town’s May financial tracking report.

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Payson university site zone change advances

Payson aims to reassure Forest Service on sale

The Payson Town Council held a second public hearing on a proposal to rezone a 253-acre Forest Service parcel for a university.

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Sunset Crater’s not erupting, no matter what Internet claims

Turns out, you can’t believe what you read on the Internet.

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Cragin watershed work starts

Forest Service plans to start cutting 64,000 acres of forest this summer

The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to start a 64,000-acre thinning project on the watershed feeding into the C.C. Cragin Reservoir by the summer of 2017.

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State tax revenue surplus growing

Thorpe suggests reconsidering university cuts

State tax revenues continue to flow in much faster than budget builders assumed when they adopted the Fiscal 2015-16 budget, which included a freeze on K-12 spending and another cut in university spending.

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Bungled state law will punish schools

Districts with charter schools may have to make years of back payments

A mistake in a budget bill could cost districts like Payson with charter schools millions.

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A trap of our own making

Forest tour reveals dirty secret behind unhealthy tree thickets

The wood-gobbling machines trundled across the thickly forested site atop the Mogollon Rim, while a gaggle of politicians, anxious officials and forest experts watched.

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Pipeline, university site top council agenda

Payson continues to make progress on its two top priorities, building the C.C. Cragin pipeline to double the town’s water supply and building a university campus to bolster the year-round economy.

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Manager quits but salary continues

Payson will keep paying Galbraith’s $128,000 salary

The Payson Town Council has accepted a proposal from Town Manager Debra Galbraith to finish out her contract in a leave of absence.

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C.C. Cragin spigot on

SRP fixes pumps to feed East Verde

The Salt River Project has finally started putting C.C. Cragin Reservoir water into the East Verde River.

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Among the high velocity raptors

I take a ringside seat in Green Valley Park.

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Voden convicted of manslaughter

Jury rejects 2nd degree murder charge

A Gila County jury convicted Payson resident Mike Voden of manslaughter Friday afternoon following a one-week trial and brief deliberations.

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Payson approves fireworks contract

The Payson Town Council last week approved spending $10,000 in water department money to help pay for a $20,000 July 4 show, which annually draws tens of thousands of people to the region.

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Payson awards pipeline contract

$1.6 million job goes to local contractor

Payson has awarded a $1.5 million contract to build the next phase of the C.C. Cragin pipeline to a local contractor, plus another $158,000 contract to a local engineering firm to supervise the work.

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Vital airport area development extended

Council approves Payson Airport land exchange extension

The Payson Town Council last week gave the feuding owners of nearly 200 acres of empty land vital to the town’s housing future more time to work out their issues.

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Town moves to rezone university site

The Payson Town Council last week moved ahead to rezone a 253-acre Forest Service parcel so that it can only harbor an educational institution or related facilities.

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Juggling forest politics

State Forester Jeff Whitney chose his words carefully, like a man photographing bears.

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University land sale takes step forward

Alliance delivers first check

The Rim Country Educational Alliance Thursday took another concrete step toward buying the land to build a 6,000-student university campus in Payson.

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The monster of Green Valley Park revealed!

Daniel Flores got the thrill of the lifetime recently fishing at Green Valley Lake.

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Rodeo never loses its thrill

The bulls slobber and twist as the cowboys fly.

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The ugly Monster vs. The Dancing Trees

Turns out, Payson’s chock full of amiable, extras — seeking their gleeful 15 minutes of fame.

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Getting back to nature at the Wildlife Fair

The wind wafted. The kayakers paddled. The fisherman fiddled. The children tumbled. The dragon slumbered.

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Lawmakers lobbied to save watershed

High-powered, high-stakes forest tour

Payson has a vital interest in protecting the C.C. Cragin Reservoir watershed, but then so does the whole of the Valley, Salt River Project administrator Bruce Hallin told a high-powered gathering of lawmakers and local officials on Wednesday.

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Birth order, personality affect learning says counselor

Parent University offers tips on different learning styles

Kids got learning styles.

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Congressman wants tough measures

Representative Paul Gosar spoke Wednesday to the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, gathering up a heaping helping of praise from Payson Mayor Kenny Evans for helping the town cope with the federal government.

Shameful inaction

We wait. We watch the skies. We dread what awaits.

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Sale signed

Evans: Construction of university will start in fall

The Rim Country Educational Alliance Board this week signed the long-awaited purchase agreement for 253 acres of Forest Service land on which it will build a four-year university in Payson.

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Payson’s economy, sales still outperforming state

Area’s 8 percent rise double the state’s

Payson’s economy continued to outpace the state, but still slowed somewhat in April from the strong showing in March, according to Payson’s monthly sales and budget tracking report.

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Prank call spurred juvenile court reform

Gila County judge unearths, sets right, historic wrong

Mrs. Cook picked up the phone, with no sense of impending history.

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University land sale approved

Forest Service approves purchase agreement for 253-acre site

The US Forest Service has finally approved the long-awaited purchase agreement to sell a 253-acre parcel of land for a four-year university in Payson. Payson Mayor Kenny Evans announced the receipt of the purchase agreement at a crowded luncheon meeting of the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.