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.
Tonto Creek and the East Verde flooded crossings, Green Valley Park lakes overflowed and even the ASU Sun Devils ran for cover.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 14,500-acre Fuller Fire near Point Imperial on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon continued to burn over the weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Method may generate money for restoration
Thin a forest.
Streams we’ve battered and abused have new hope of restoration
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.
Solar Strong America will stage an event in Payson on Wednesday, July 20 to celebrate the benefits of rooftop solar installations.
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.
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.
Here’s when I decided it will all work out.
Down, down, down into the deep places
I scuttle, crablike, along the dark, wet limestone surface.
The hoards descended.
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.
Wow. July 4th? Already? How’d that happen?
Storms douse wildfires
Monsoon storms gusted into Northern Arizona this week, dousing wildfires, dropping temperatures and relieving residents.
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.
Travel management plan would shut down 1,300 miles of existing roads and trails
Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An improvised hike to See Canyon Spring ends with a splash & a lesson
I’d pretty much blown the day.
Furor about elections, dark money, solar energy, dominate
Just for practice: Turn off the air conditioner. Never mind the heat wave.
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.
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.
A 3,300-acre wildfire on the east side of Yarnell has forced the evacuation of 300 residents and consumed three structures.
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.
Questions remain about distribution of $230 million to schools in June
Voters approved Proposition 123’s boost in school funding, but controversy persists.
Rep. Bob Thorpe stressed his efforts as a state lawmaker to fight the federal government in a recent appearance before the Payson Tea Party.
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.
The Greasy Pole
Can’t help but wonder — Which side is Secretary of State Michele Reagan on?
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.
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.
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.
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.