Restoring forests now dominates management goals
Forest Service restoration projects in Northern Arizona have treated 300,000 acres since the launch of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) in 2010, according to the latest annual tally of the program’s accomplishments.
Sales tax collections growing a bit faster
Rim Country’s economy continues to perk along a little better than the statewide economy, according to the latest financial tracking report from Payson.
Contract OK’d as Alliance chair resigns
One bombshell and one move forward.
Rim Country Archaeological Society finds joy and mystery in the ruins of Chaco Canyon
Ed Spicer stood on the cliff edge, overlooking the 800-year-old ruins of Pueblo Bonito, once the mystic center of an ancient world. A genial fighter pilot with artificial knees, an inexhaustible sense of adventure and an insatiable curiosity, Ed dubiously surveyed the rain clouds gathering south of Chaco Canyon.
On Saturday, Payson staged a small-town celebration of Christmas that featured the cheer, joy and companionship of the season.
An exuberant assortment of angle-voiced singers, passionate musicians, bouncing gymnasts, costumed super heroes, cute-as-a-button ninjas and loving families welcomed the season Sunday with a joyful rendering of the “Spirit of Christmas.”
The Legislature and school advocates remain far apart when it comes to complying with a court order to adjust school budgets for inflation, according to recent testimony in the state’s appeal of the court order.
The Rim Country Educational Alliance board will meet next Thursday to consider a contract with DCK Global to buy a $4.1 million Forest Service parcel and draw up plans to build a 6,000-student university in Payson, according to Chairman Steve Drury.
Arizona may enjoy more heavy snowfall
The planet should brace for far more of the kinds of extreme El Niño events that in 1997-98 brought droughts, floods and fires worldwide — but near-record snow and rainfall in Arizona, according to recently published research.
More megadroughts likely
Most of Arizona remains mired in drought despite a 50 percent chance of rain for the next three days, with a growing body of research suggesting we’d best get used to it.
A silent battlefield, a chance encounter and a mysterious name inspire writer’s quest for lost family history
I stood in the late light on the lush green swale where the Union line broke from ego and pride and bad luck on Sept. 20 of 1863 on the battlefield of Chickamauga.
But most Rim Country communities still woefully unprepared for wildfire
Cost sharing programs work great when it comes to convincing people to reduce brush and wildfire dangers around their homes, but only when people understand what they have to do, according to a recent study in Colorado.
4FRI environmental assessment focuses on massive thinning
The historic draft of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for perhaps the largest logging project in history has already drawn high marks, even from environmental groups.
Says he’ll leave university land purchase to the Alliance board
Assured the Rim Country Educational Alliance has the money to buy a 253-acre Forest Service parcel for a university campus, Payson Mayor Kenny Evans has apparently backed away from a plan for the Rim Country Educational Foundation to buy the land.
The festering conflict between Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) Chairman Steve Drury broke into the open Thursday over contrasting plans for buying 253 acres to build a university campus in Payson.
Reducing tree densities could boost runoff by 20 percent
Thinning Northern Arizona’s forests could increase runoff by 20 percent, which would restore streams, wetlands, springs and produce more water for Phoenix and other cities, according to a just-completed study by researchers from Northern Arizona University.
Rim Country photographers produce a scenic calendar to support food banks
Alarmed by the persistence of hunger in the community, The Rim Country Camera Club (R3C) this year produced a beautiful calender for 2015, which they’re selling now, with all proceeds going to area food banks.
Alliance meeting slated to buy university land
The Rim Country Educational Alliance Board is scheduled to meet on Thursday to consider moving forward to purchase two parcels of Forest Service land totaling some 274 acres — 253 acres immediately and another 21 acres in about a year.
In a press release Friday morning, Payson Mayor Kenny Evans announced plans to purchase a 250-acre Forest Service parcel as the site for a university campus.
County group hopes to jump-start stalled forest thinning process
Desperate to break a dangerous deadlock, Eastern Arizona Counties Association (EOC) has taken the plunge into the complex and politically charged effort to prevent catastrophic wildfires by thinning the forests.
Birthday celebrated through laughter and tears
The hard-bitten prosecutor and combat veteran stood ramrod straight on his two artificial legs and struggled to speak.
Region outperforming state with strong gains in construction
Rim Country’s recovering economy continued to outperform the rest of the state in October as evidenced by figures in Payson’s monthly budget tracking report.
The Tuesday elections brought new boards and new resolutions to old problems for a handful of Rim Country communities.
“None of you bums” won a landslide victory at the polls on Tuesday.
All state offices, Legislature
Republicans swept state offices Tuesday and added to their already comfortable margins in the state House and Senate.
Green Valley Park migrants once again delight onlookers
Payson’s very own bald eagles have returned to Green Valley Lake, part of a continent spanning migratory lifestyle that every year delights Rim Country residents.
Rim Country People
Larry Moore stood at his post on the Number 3 deck gun when the USS Shaw’s luck ran out once again.
Weekend sessions teach people how to find their ancestors
A slew of squinty eyed detectives will set up shop in Payson Friday and Saturday – determined to track down horse thieves, heroes, missing persons and other odd looking branches on the family tree of anyone in Payson.
Party triumphs in state and national contests
Republicans sweep of state offices in very early results on election night. Most of the Republican statewide candidates did even better in Gila County than they did statewide, reflecting the growing strength of Republicans in North County and the relative dwindling of the influence of Democratic-leaning South County. The most interesting race in the early results looks like the matchup between Independent Tom O’Halleran and Republican Sylvia Allen to fill the District 4 State Senate seat left vacant by the death of Republican Sen. Chester Crandell.
Weisser offers sweeping critique of incumbent’s priorities
Mikel Weisser recently brought his Quixotic campaign for Congress to Payson, making an appearance, ringing doorbells and slipping his card under impassive windshield wipers.
Allen, O’Halleran disagree on AHCCCS, schools
The contending candidates for the state Senate seat representing Rim Country met this week in a civil, articulate debate that exposed profound differences on policy — and a mutual dearth of specifics.
Goddard’s secretary of state campaign focuses on revealing political donors
Secretary of state candidate Terry Goddard swept through Payson Thursday pursuing his full-throated crusade to force disclosure of the sources of “dark money” that increasingly dominates political campaigns.
Arizona charges low, but ‘conservation’ rates may not work
Several surprising conclusions have emerged from a comprehensive survey of water systems of Arizona.
Fall flares across Rim Country in winter’s shadow
The leaves flittered down, trembling all the way to the golden ground. I shuttered away, in love with luminous yellow in an aspen grove on the slopes of an ancient volcano.
Tea Party gives O’Halleran a hard time
Independent Arizona Senate candidate Tom O’Halleran staunchly defended his record as a pragmatic, problem-solving moderate in the face of often clamorous questioning before the Payson Tea Party.
Former Republican senators face off for District 6 seat
The battle for the state Senate seat in legislative District 6 will likely turn into one of the most closely watched contests this year, since it could transform the role of the growing number of Independents.
Health care. Education. Taxes. Profound differences separate the positions of the three candidates vying for the two seats in the Arizona House representing Rim Country.
The Arizona governor’s race has come down to a dead-heat mud-wrestling match dominated by “dark money” groups that has largely sidestepped the hard choices.
Wants secretary of state’s office to push for more disclosure
Secretary of state candidate Terry Goddard brought his crusade against political “dark money” to Rim Country Thursday, with a local radio show appearance and interview.
Construction, restaurants hotels led rise in sales
Payson’s economy continues to mend from the long recession, with a surge in construction, restaurants and accommodations.
FireSmart event urges people to prepare for inevitable wildfire
The monster will come for us.
All three contenders now support override, but differ on Common Core
Sharp differences on the acceptance of new Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards emerged in the second forum involving all three candidates for a seat on the Payson Unified School District Board before a well-attended session of the Payson Tea Party.
The Rim Country Educational Alliance board on Thursday agreed unanimously to seek a way to meet two final conditions Arizona State University has imposed on an effort to build a 6,000-student university in Payson.
Tea Party stalwarts say education ranks as top priority
The Payson Tea Party Thursday had a perhaps surprisingly friendly reaction to an informational session on the Payson Unified School District’s budget override ballot measure.
Alliance meets Thursday to set terms for Forest Service purchase
The Rim Country Educational Alliance board will meet Thursday to authorize Chairman Steve Drury to enter into final negotiations to buy a 253-acre site for a 6,000-student university from the U.S. Forest Service.
Barton, Thorpe decry federal controls, rules
The top priority for the two state House representatives who represent Rim Country remains battling the federal government — especially when it comes to taking control of federal lands, rolling back the expansion of health care and battling environmental regulations.
Charges could double at many sites to cover costs
Tonto National Forest wants to substantially increase its fees for many campgrounds and boat ramps, but lower the cost of an annual pass from $95 to $80.
The Tonto National Forest’s long-awaited effort to limit off-road travel to protect the forest has provoked a hornet swarm of criticism.
Arizona Corporation Commission candidate decries EPA targets
A Republican candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission in Payson last week joined a chorus of opposition to federal rules intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52 percent in Arizona in the next 15 years.
$4.1 million for Forest Service parcel
An independent appraiser put the price of a 253-acre Forest Service site for a planned 6,000-student university at just $4.1 million — well below expectations.