Tribe would get water supply, help Payson
The Tonto Apache Tribe and Payson are in the process of working out a federal water settlement that will not only give the tribe a permanent, long-term source of water in a drought-plagued state — it will provide a major boost to the town’s efforts to complete the Blue Ridge pipeline.
After months of fuss and flurry, Rep. Brenda Barton’s controversial animal cruelty bill died quietly in committee as the Legislature rushed to a belated adjournment.
Political conflict continues as AHCCCS enrollment surges 13 percent
Gila County has reported the highest growth rate in the state in the past 12 months when it comes to people signing up for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System as newly eligible people take advantage of the expanded coverage through the federal Affordable Healthcare Act.
They washed the cars ... so it had to rain
Well, karma wise — it pretty much had to happen.
Lawmakers sidestep CPS reforms
A new flurry of revelations is now swirling around the scandal-ridden Child Protective Services, including the Legislature’s balk on reforms, a spate of high-level firings, a critical investigation and an inexorable rise in the backlog of uninvestigated cases.
Law would have allowed guns in public buildings
Gov. Jan Brewer this week vetoed a bill that would make it harder for town councils to keep guns out of public buildings.
Mounting tally of research suggests doubling of wildfires due to warming trend
Ongoing climate change will likely add three weeks to the fire season by 2050, according to several new studies.
Plan to allow some to use taxpayer money to attend private schools could be revived this week
A last-minute revolt by eight moderate Republicans blocked passage of a bill that would have diverted millions of dollars in taxpayer money to private schools by creating what amounts to a vastly expanded voucher program.
They came to the school budget workshop session worried about waste, accountability and budget limits.
Some of the recent research on climate change published in scientific journals includes:
$9.2 billion plan defers action on CPS, offers small school boost
Gov. Jan Brewer last week signed a $9.2 billion state budget that grew out of a split-the-difference compromise between House and Senate Republicans.
Fishing season starts in Rim Country lakes and streams
Oh my. Oh my. It’s a stocking truck!
The 2014 fire season flared into action this weekend, with a 175-acre blaze near Flagstaff underscoring the danger posed by the return of the drought.
Residents vent fears, frustrations at corporation commission session
Hundreds of angry water customers jammed a rare Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) meeting in Payson Friday to complain bitterly about steep proposed increases in the water rates for eight Rim Country communities served by Payson Water Company (PWC), formerly owned by Brooke Utilities.
Arizona Game and Fish officials hope Florida fish will be answer to gizzard shad problem
They’re heeeeere ... But so far they’re just a wriggle and a prayer.
Forest Service acts on appraisal, releasing college plan from limbo
After an agonizing eight-month delay, Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth confirmed this week that he’s finally ready to seek an appraiser to put a value on the a 253-acre parcel on which the Rim Country Educational Alliance wants to build a university.
Spring brings explosion of green in trees whose genetics affect thousands of species
Suddenly, the cottonwoods have their leaves back.
A world lost and found again amidst a scattering of stones
I’m a ghost hunter.
Payson, Gila County seek return of state gas tax funds
The money Payson and Gila County urgently need to fix crumbling roads remains tangled up in the budget standoff between Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature.
Questions remain about big trees, contractor’s shifting business plan
The Four Forest Restoration Initiative contractor Good Earth Power AZ wants to build a mill to handle millions of tons of small trees in Williams instead of Winslow, the latest wrinkle in a high-stakes forest thinning project on which Rim Country’s future may well depend.
The Legislature continues to make life hard for local governments, with a series of bills that could potentially gut planning and zoning efforts — and unbalance local budgets.
Well, it’s official: Dead last. No pussyfooting around.
Hummingbirds return to Rim Country, with more to say than you might think
Arizona boasts more species of hummingbirds than any other state, since we lie on the route along which many of the feathered tufts travel from the tropics on up into the rest of North America.
Legislature whittles away at Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal
A revolt by moderate Republicans last week produced a House budget higher than the Senate version, but lower than Gov. Jan Brewer had requested.
Honor Flight unleashes veteran’s flood of memories
The unwieldy, flat-bottomed LST loaded with 15 tanks and 400 soldiers wallowed through a terrifying succession of mines, spikes and traps toward Omaha Beach. Down below, Motor Machinist Mate Emil Alberti tended to the engines roaring so loud he could not hear the shout of the man next to him — much less the German shells raining down on all sides.
Former congressman wants to be governor
Former Congressman Frank Riggs hopes he can parlay a long-ago vote to impeach then-President Bill Clinton, a fierce advocacy for parental choice and charter schools and an effortless, small-town charm into a chance to run the state of Arizona.
People who live in rural areas suffer a significantly greater risk that they’ll die from an accident — even from something as simple as a fall.
A fly-fishing challenged photographer faces a fateful choice
“This time, we’re going to fish,” I said flintily to Lobo, as he jumped down out of the Jeep at the Fisherman’s Point parking area off Colcord Road. He landed lightly on four paws, cocked his head, and studied me skeptically.
Senators oppose plan to budget for wildfires
Arizona’s two U.S. Senators have come out against a widely hailed, bipartisan effort to fundamentally change how the federal government finances its wildfire fighting efforts.
Fire chiefs, emergency workers now rely on network of water stored for fire trucks
An improvised handful of water tanks and bladders has grown into a sophisticated network essential to the firefighting strategy of every fire department in Rim Country.
Brnovich cites legal woes of incumbent
A Republican candidate seeking to unseat an incumbent from his own party brought his hard-hitting campaign to Payson last week, with an appearance before the Payson Tea Party.
Gila County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Scott made a somber report on the mysterious disappearance of Paul Tomasso, 56, who left his car for a four-day hike on Feb. 13 and disappeared into the rugged wilderness.
Longtime Republican insider, activist and financier Randy Pullen stumped through Payson hopefully en route to the state treasurer’s office with an appearance before the Gila County Republican Party.
Repeated knee surgeries left woman crippled; in chronic pain
A Gila County Superior Court judge made no mistakes in the course of a trial that ended in a $7.3 million jury verdict for a woman whose botched knee surgery left her in chronic pain and unable to walk normally, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled last week.
Duber cites prosecutor ‘bullying’
Citing “bullying, cunning use of rules and political self-interest” by the Gila County Attorney’s Office, Gila County Superior Court Judge Robert Duber has decided not to seek re-election.
Firefighters prepare for the worst
A frightening fire season nearly started with disaster when piled up brush caught fire on the outskirts of Whispering Pines right after the last storm of winter, fire chiefs from throughout the area learned at a pre-fire-season gathering last week.
Bill to curtail limits clears House
The state House has passed a measure that would make it more difficult to keep guns out of public buildings — and impose potentially steep costs on towns if they try.
Financing bill barely saved
The near-death of a state bill to make it easier to finance local water projects last week briefly threw Payson into a panic about financing for the final $30 million needed to build the Blue Ridge pipeline.
State lawmakers cut original $25 million for thinning to $200,000
A bill designed to provide money to thin the forest around fire-menaced communities last week survived a state House vote — but only after lawmakers stripped away most of the money proposed.
Payson seeks to cut danger despite council’s qualms
Despite the council’s qualms about the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Code, the Payson Town Council is moving forward with an effort to reduce the risk the next megafire could consume the whole town, says Mayor Kenny Evans.
On a high ridge overlooking Payson, clues to a gripping mystery lie scattered — mostly hidden from view.
House approves changes after controversial provisions cut
A controversial bill on animal cruelty sponsored by a Rim Country lawmaker eked through the House last week.
Rim Country’s representative pushing bill to defy federal rules
Rim Country Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) has taken the lead in pressing for legislation to limit the reintroduction of Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona.
Crandell advocates more carbon dioxide in the air to spur plant growth
Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) at a recent senate committee hearing said reducing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would inhibit plant growth so that “we’re going to starve to death because we cannot produce enough food for the amount of people being produced on the Earth.”
Woman sentenced for assaults, burglary, fleeing cops, child abuse
A Payson woman who launched a crime wave of her own is now heading for prison to serve a nine-year sentence.
A beloved Hellsgate volunteer firefighter who battled the Wallow and Yarnell fires, kept aging fire trucks running and did endless favors for his many friends, collapsed and died Friday while taking a fitness test.
Payson schools have less money to spend on each child than in 2008, but the district has a B grade overall, mostly because students continue to do better in math, reading, writing and science than either comparable districts or the average student statewide.
Fierce governor’s race hits Payson with plea to keep cutting budget
Secretary of State Ken Bennett brought his freshly minted campaign for governor to Payson on Saturday, calling for fresh spending cuts in the precariously balanced state budget and the eventual elimination of the income tax.
Rim Country senator pushes bill to put propositions back on ballot every eight years
The Senate Elections Committee on a party-line vote has approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) that would require voters to re-approve ballot measures every eight years.
A bill sponsored by Rim Country’s state legislative delegation that would have required federal law enforcement personnel to register with local sheriffs and turn over half of their fines to the counties has died in committee.