Senate plan to limit police, fire benefits needs approval of House and voters
The Arizona Senate has adopted a landmark plan to save the state pension system for police officers and firefighters from bankruptcy, but the measure faces an uncertain future in the House.
Frustrated Pine parents decry exposure of kids to mercury
Trace amounts of mercury rising from the Pine-Strawberry School gym floor pose absolutely no risk to children, state representatives and experts assured worried parents this week.
Good Earth years behind schedule, but plans to thin 16,000 acres in 2016
This year logging trucks will drive 6.7 million miles hauling 823,000 tons of wood harvested from 16,000 acres as part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.
Governor’s proposed 1.4 percent increase draws praise, criticism
Gov. Doug Ducey’s austere budget features a 1.4 percent increase in spending, $1 billion in reserves, more tax cuts and the elimination of the once-massive “structural deficit.”
New state funding formula could inflict more pain on districts with declining enrollment
In a perfectly awful fiscal storm, changes in state budgeting could have a crushing impact on Payson Unified School District if the opening of a charter school this year causes a big dip in enrollment.
State spending on education 31 percent below national average
Arizona ranks dead last in state support for K-12 schools, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Ducey budget would change 5-year trend
Arizona remains one of only two states in the nation still cutting state funding for higher education several years into the economic recovery, according to a state-by-state survey by the Center for the Study of Education Policy.
Lawmakers push for vocational funds
A legislative revolt is brewing against a proposed $30 million cut in vocational training for K-12 schools.
White amur’s better for weed control than as a main course
This young angler pulled this monster out of Green Valley Lake recently, a fish big enough to double as his younger brother.
But don’t promise to take them sledding if you don’t own a sled
Seth seemed kinda worried.
The Greasy Pole
Voters may face two ballot issues that would work huge changes in the state’s politics.
School board recognizes group
Attempting to unify a discordant gathering of rebels convened as the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin once declared: “Gentlemen. If we do not hang together, we shall most assuredly hang separately.”
Young eagle looking for love delights Green Valley visitors
Green Valley Park has a new star — a young bald eagle still in his juvenile plumage.
PCK partners with schools
First there was the word.
The push to build a university campus in Payson continues to advance, with architects and engineers working on plans for the infrastructure and conversations continuing with Arizona State University.
Tests show less than half have adequate reading skills
Payson students start off making big gains in reading and math in the lower grades, but by middle school and high school, fewer than half have the skills they need in reading and math to cope with their classes, according to a sobering tracking test of basic skills presented to the school board on Monday.
Gov. Doug Ducey promised more tax cuts and a strong economy, but offered little added encouragement for schools, universities and other groups hoping the state will use its growing surplus to restore deep cuts made in recent years.
Alliance lease approval process remains unclear
The Rim Country Educational Alliance board members silently listened on Thursday as Payson Unified School Board President Barbara Underwood and others urged them to reject a proposal to lease 10 acres on the 253-acre university site to a charter school.
The heroin epidemic in Rim Country apparently claimed another life this week when police found the body of a young Tucson man in the Days Inn Hotel on the Beeline Highway.
A writer in snowshoes puts the theories to the test
The snow drifted down.
The worst fire in the nation’s history brought out both the best and the worst in human beings.
Forest fires the U.S. Forest Service has extinguished for decades would have provided much better protection from even worse fires had they been allowed to burn, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
Studies show climate shifts have played a role in the rise and fall of human populations for 10,000 years — and may have depopulated the Southwest
Shifts in the climate have dominated human population growth and the rise and fall of civilizations for 10,000 years — including the complex civilizations that rose and fell across the Southwest.
Backers of a school spending ballot measure that would settle an inflation funding lawsuit have raised nearly $500,000 to convince voters in May to approve the plan to boost school funding by about $350 million annually.
But marijuana remains the glaring exception
Great news: Teen drug use declined in 2015 — including the use of opiate pain relievers and heroin, which have risen alarmingly among Payson teens in recent years.
Report: Universities need 60,000 additional students
Arizona’s three universities have announced an ambitious plan to make room for 60,000 more students in the next decade and appealed to the Arizona Legislature for added support.
Many of the people facing the worst danger due to overgrown lots are the least likely to participate in efforts to Firewise their homes — to protect themselves and their neighbors.
Deal near to put overhaul of soaring, underfunded public safety retirement plan on ballot
A plan to overhaul the state’s costly, overstressed pension system for public safety workers may end up on the ballot in May alongside a plan to settle an inflation lawsuit involving the state’s schools.
The Greasy Pole
Our own Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) offered all kinds of encouraging tidbits for educators upon taking over as head of the Senate Education Committee, making her one of the three most powerful people in the state when it comes to education policy.
Fresh snow, fresh questions
The mist fades, the planet spins, the dawn spreads.
Researcher thinks they dominated Southwest for centuries
The Hohokam who built hundreds of miles of irrigation canals in Phoenix also created the most advanced civilization in the Southwest — a peaceful, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic economic system stretching from New Mexico to California that persisted for 600 years, according to a provocative new theory advanced by a University of California, Berkeley researcher.
Department of Child Safety remains in disarray
The number of Arizona children killed as a result of abuse and neglect has climbed 24 percent since 2009, as the effort to reform the agency charged with protecting children from abuse flounders.
The Greasy Pole
An unlikely political drama continues at the Arizona Corporation Commission, which seems determined to illustrate all the possibilities of the institutionalization of corruption in our political system in as short a space as possible.
Valley media focuses on controversial comments
State Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) will take charge of the Senate committee that hears legislation affecting K-12 schools in the upcoming legislative session.
I’ll admit it.
Tax collections jump 23 percent in November
Arizona got the perfect Christmas gift — a 23 percent jump in state revenues in November.
Blunted senses aside, nothing beats a winter’s walk
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
Two cases could prove a windfall for Republicans
Two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court could not only overturn Arizona’s congressional and legislative district boundaries, they could remake the electoral map nationally — largely at the expense of Democrats.
Fire department budgets in crisis
Faced with financial meltdown, rural fire districts are pleading with lawmakers to let local voters raise capped property tax rates.
Aspire Foundation raising money to cover GCC classes
The recently established Aspire Arizona Foundation has launched its first effort in support of a university campus in Payson — a partnership with Payson High School and Gila Community College to offer dual-credit college courses.
Some 195 nations adopted a climate change treaty last week that Rim Country’s legislators in both the state House and in Congress have bitterly criticized.
Forest Service pushing to avert crown fires on 64,000 C.C. Cragin watershed
The rare, collaborative effort to protect Payson’s water supply by thinning the overgrown forest on the 64,000-acre watershed to the C.C. Cragin Reservoir got a boost this summer from a surprising source — wildfires.
Attorney General seeks removal of commissioner for conflict
Controversy continues to dog the Arizona Corporation Commission, including Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s petition to the Arizona Supreme Court to remove Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith from office.
The Payson Roundup this week was named national newspaper of the year for non-daily papers with less than 10,000 circulation by the Local Media Association.
Ever notice how your life turns on the most trivial detail?
Payson may get snow by Saturday as ‘super’ El Niño gains strength
It might feel like a balmy fall this week, but brace yourself: Winter’s coming back and El Niño’s getting stronger.
Alliance won’t discuss charter lease, but will consider legal structures
The Rim Country Educational Alliance will meet on Thursday to take the first step toward buying another 21 acres for a university campus, but won’t discuss a plan to lease a portion of the 253 acres it already owns to a charter school.
But state’s planned 50 percent cut in vocational education challenged
Arizona seems poised to resume rapid growth, according to Forbes magazine, which ranked the state tops in the nation for project job growth.
Greatest change in 1,000 years happening as politicians debate
The world’s climate shifted decisively in the 1980s as a result of the accumulation of heat-trapping pollutants and the carbon dioxide released by the El Chichón volcanic eruption in Mexico, according to a massive study published in Global Change Biology.