Kris arrived in Payson five years ago, broke, beaten down and alone – fleeing a brutal, decade-long marriage.
“I was going to be homeless. I had run out of options. (My family) put me on a bus and sent me out here,” she said.
She needed time to sort through the abuse her ex-husband had inflicted – including years of efforts to separate her from her family. She had to leave her children behind to escape and now was suffering a mental breakdown.
It was a rough landing. “I wasn’t doing well…I had horrible, horrible night terrors. I still have them every once in awhile.”
But she has turned a tragic tale into a hopeful one. She’s gotten a job, come to understand her options and learned the legal system. And she’s reconnected with her family.
Edna Welsheimer, the Time Out Domestic Violence Shelter’s executive director, said like most domestic violence victims Kris was in “survival mode — fight/flight/flee and fearful.”
But she watched Kris turn from “victim to victor.”
Welsheimer praised “her kindness towards others and willingness to help others overcome what she had already been through. She is highly sought out by others in our community to help them navigate the judicial system.”
She couldn’t have done it alone. Kris’ story demonstrates the role of domestic violence shelters.
Studies show the chance a woman will escape – and thrive – increases with the protection and services a shelter offers. Yet the Time Out Shelter remains the only refuge in the county, consistently full and barely hanging on through a patchwork of grants.
The shelter helped Kris escape – and then to heal. In the process, she’s come to understand her own story and how her desperate need for a man who would protect her and her children actually set her up for abuse. She learned the patterns of abuse and the complicated way a loving relationship can slide into terror and control through a cycle of violence and remorse.
That pattern is common in relationships that degenerate into violence.
When Kris looks back on how it all happened, she has a theory.
“We’re caretakers. We want to fix people,” she said.
After her first husband abandoned her and their three children, she met her second husband, who worked in law enforcement. She thought he would prove her protector.
“I was very vulnerable at the time. He talked a lot about how he could take care of us…he was very good with the kids,” she said.
When the abuse started that added to the trauma – and the difficulty she faced in making her escape. Studies have found that domestic violence can be more common in law enforcement families, according to a website maintained by the National Center for Women and Policing. What’s worse, if the police are called, they generally listen to a fellow officer over the abused. For Kris, the abuse started with name-calling then moved to slapping and hitting. Ultimately, he turned her into his prisoner — with a Bluetooth phone connection in her ear 24/7 and a GPS tracker on her car.
Most victims of domestic violence don’t know about the “Cycle of Violence,” a phrase coined in 1979 by psychologist Lenore Walker. Her interviews with 1,500 victims of domestic abuse revealed common phases that can take hours or a year to complete.
The phases include:
•Tension-building: The abuser becomes edgy, possibly slamming doors, giving the cold shoulder while the victim tries to keep the peace.
•Violent outbreak: The abuser works up to explosive anger and emotional and/or physical attacks. In response, the victims may blame themselves for the outburst, fight back or try to escape.
•The honeymoon: The abuser promises to change, buys flowers and gifts, writes love letters and does everything possible to manipulate the victim back into the relationship. The victim returns after glimpsing the person they fell in love with.
Kris lived this cycle for years.
She even experienced it the day her ex asked her to marry him.
“I was in my room. I was sitting on the end of my bed. He was yelling and screaming,” she said.
Suddenly, he grabbed her hair and started banging her head against the wall.
“Again and again and again… slamming my head again the wall,” she said.
Then he stopped. “My tongue was hanging out and blood was coming out. He had done something really bad.”
He went into a panic.
“He started crying and bawling and I’m sitting there bleeding,” she said. “Then he just leaned over me and said, ‘I just want to clean you up so (the kids) don’t see you. I just want to spend my life with you.’ That’s how he asked me to marry him.”
All she could think was “he’s going to take care of us. What am I going to do if he is gone?”
So the pattern continued – tension, abuse and remorse. She would live in that space for the next 10 years. Domestic violence classes teach, it’s at the first sign of abuse that a clear boundary must be set. Yet so many women don’t believe they even have the right to set boundaries.
True to form, Kris’ ex reproduced other patterns in the tangle of domestic violence. For instance, he worked systematically to isolate her from family and friends – making her ever more dependent financially and emotionally. Again, this is a common pattern. Abusers often alienate or manipulate family members and friends. They require their victims to quit jobs, hand over cars and provide the passwords to the bank account.
What drives such a need for control?
Studies by the National Institute of Health indicate abusers struggle with anger control, jealousy, low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, personality or psychological disorders, learned behavior and substance abuse.
Often, they’ve observed or experienced domestic violence as children.
In Kris’ case, the abuse escalated each time they moved.
This is also a pattern of abusers — failure at jobs.
His use of excessive force at work got him fired.
“He told me a story and then later on I found out…he was yelling at an inmate,” said Kris. “I found paperwork later on. I actually confronted him once on it and got the crap beat out of me.”
But by then they’d had two children together. They moved to a remote five-acre property in the eastern side of the country.
The abuse increased.
“He told them (her family) I had mental issues,” she said.
He made her sleep with a gun next to her head.
He abused the children in ways she didn’t learn about until after she left.
He had affairs.
Ultimately, she discovered he’d had a child by another woman.
When not working in law enforcement, Kris’ ex drove a truck, and struck up a relationship with a woman on one of his regular routes. The woman filed legal papers seeking a paternity test – which a sheriff’s deputy dropped off at her door as Kris prepared to spend Thanksgiving with her family.
“I’m sitting there in shock that this girl had come up in one of our fights because I had seen a posting on an ad…I had foun on Craig’s List looking for fun.”
When she confronted him, he exploded – and screamed that if she didn’t drop it “things will start happening to your family.”
“He had never threatened my family before,” she said.
Kris had finally had enough – an illustration of another pattern in domestic violence case – the difficulty many victims face in finally resolving to leave.
She wanted to go to a shelter, but knew he had hidden a GPS tracker on her car.
“He knew everywhere I went,” she said. “Thankfully the shelter was by our children’s pre-school.”
But he sensed the shift in her attitude. So he called the authorities to claim she “wasn’t protecting the kids.”
Fearful she would lose her children, Kris called her sister and begged for help.
“My sister said, ‘We think you need to get some help,” said Kris. “My family thought that I needed help. They thought I was mentally ill. My sister wouldn’t let me come… They gave him my kids.”
As officials took away her children, Kris had a mental breakdown. She went to a hospital then to a shelter. There she pulled herself together enough to beg him to take her back so she could be with her children. “I begged him to take me back, knowing it would be hell,” she said.
The abuse continued – worse than ever. Eventually, she overheard her ex making plans to “get rid of me.”
Convinced she would die if she stayed, she again planned her escape. She knew had to take the children – but she eventually convinced her sister to take them.
When he was away for three days on a trucking run, Kris drove to her sister’s where a caseworker took the children and Kris took the bus to Payson – although she remained determined to one day return for her kids when she felt they would be safe.
Kris now works two jobs, including as a legal advocate for the shelter.
Welsheimer said Kris came to her, “broken, confused and terrified. She did not trust anyone – always looking over her shoulder wherever she went to make sure she was safe,” said Welsheimer. “Now look at her, confident, working, taking control of her life, living in the now. She has come so far. Her memories will be there, but she chooses how to react to them. My hope for her is a life filled with happiness, love and healed relationships with her children and family.”
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Several pockets of Payson were without power Monday night during a monsoonal storm that also ended with one woman killed as a result of a flash flood.
Around 8 p.m. Monday, Richard Weaver, 45, of Globe, and Catherine Canez, 52, of Miami, found themselves trapped in a pickup truck after driving into the flooded Irene Wash, north of Globe.
Weaver was able to safely make it to land, but authorities later found Canez’s body a mile downstream. They believe Canez drowned.
Sheriff Adam Shepherd said it is never safe to drive into a flooded crossing. He reminded motorists that creeks flood quickly during the monsoon as conditions change rapidly.
It appears there was a microburst over north Payson Monday night as power was knocked out to residents north of Airport Road, including Mesa del Caballo and East Verde Estates, among other areas.
APS said there were three outages Monday.
The first impacted 2,500 residents in the Happy Jack area. Power went off at 4 p.m. and was restored at 5:45 p.m. There was a second outage that impacted five residents off Zane Grey Drive near the Tonto Fish Hatchery between 4:20 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and the third outage started at 5 p.m. and impacted 3,300 residents as far north as the Blue Ridge Reservoir to Rim View Road, Country Club Vista and the Tonto Natural Bridge. Linemen had power restored around 7 p.m.
There were other storms this week, but none that knocked out power. For July, Payson has received .41 inches of rain and for the year, 10.13 inches. There is a 10 to 20 percent chance for showers through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating the recent death of an elk in the gated community of Chaparral Pines.
On July 18, security staff were alerted to a dead cow elk on a lot on East Scarlet Bugler Circle.
Staff called Game and Fish and an officer determined the elk had been shot and killed with a small caliber weapon some time the day before, according a notice from the Chaparral Pines Community Association Board.
Killing an elk out of season is against the law and can result in a fine of up to $8,000 and the revocation of hunting privileges for up to five years.
Discharging a firearm within a quarter-mile of an occupied structure is also a felony.
Dave Daniels, wildlife manager with Game and Fish, said it appears the elk was shot in the head within Chaparral Pines and the body had been there for one or two days before it was discovered.
He encouraged anyone with information to call operation game thief at 800-352-0700.
The Roundup reached out to the Chaparral Pines Board of Directors for more details. An official said they had no further information.
Chaparral Pines has grappled with herds of elk since the gated community was constructed.
The HOA had a high fence constructed around the community to keep elk out of yards and off the golf course, but there are holes in the fence where some residents have refused to grant an easement.
This resulted in tension between residents and gaps in the fence through which the elk gain access.
Gila County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in June to 6 percent, but remained right where it was last June.
The county continues to trail the state average unemployment rate of 4.9 percent and the national average of 3.7 percent — both far lower than the long-term historical average.
Some analysts pointed to the steady gain in jobs statewide as evidence that the voter-mandated increase in the state’s minimum wage from $8-an-hour in 2016 to $11 now hasn’t slowed job growth in the affected industries, as the opponents of the measure predicted.
“What we’ve seen with Arizona’s minimum wage increase has been continued economic growth in a multitude of industries around the state,” Doug Walls told Capitol Media Services reporter Howard Fisher. Walls is director of labor market information for the Office of Economic Opportunity, which issued the June jobless report.
The state’s average hourly wage of $26.13 compares to the national average of $27.87. Nationally, the average wage has risen 4.2 percent, compared to just 2.6 percent in Arizona — despite the minimum wage increase here.
The report also documented the continued struggles of rural areas in Arizona — at least compared to Maricopa and Pima counties.
On the other hand, Gila County’s doing pretty well compared to some other rural areas of the state.
Long-suffering Yuma County’s rate has been stuck at 20 percent for most of the last year. Experts blame a large, seasonally employed farm workforce and high poverty rates in a county that consistently has some of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Moreover, Gila County’s rural neighbors Apache and Navajo counties both suffer a much higher unemployment rate. Apache County’s rate in June rose to 11 percent, which compares to 10.6 percent a year ago. Navajo County’s rate rose to 8.1 percent, compared to 8 percent in June of 2018.
The unemployment rate in Gila, Navajo and Apache counties are all influenced by the still dismayingly high unemployment rate on most reservations. The unemployment rate on the Navajo Reservation is about 19 percent — compared to more than 50 percent during the recession. Unemployment rates on the Apache reservations in the region are comparable.
But even the rural counties that are doing better, still lag well behind the urban counties.
Gila, Cochise, Coconino, Graham, La Paz, Mohave, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yavapai counties all have rates more than 20 percent above the state and national averages — with little real progress in the past year.
The trend mirrors the national situation, with job growth concentrated in dense urban areas as rural areas get left increasingly behind.
But then, everyone’s still doing way better than they did in the aftermath of the recession.
The low rate statewide comes coupled with a healthy growth in the number of jobs. So you can have more people working and still have the rate go up, based on what percentage of folks looking for work actually land a job. A booming economy draws people into the workforce who have been sitting on the sidelines.
Statewide, the labor force increased by more than 10,000 in June — bringing the increase for the past 12 months to about 93,000. This kept Arizona in the forefront of job growth nationally, according to a report issued by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity.
Statewide, the job growth in the past year has been centered in education, health services, construction, professional and business services, trade, transportation, utilities, manufacturing and hospitality. The only sector losing jobs was government.
Gila County’s workforce has remained pretty consistent, with 20,587 workers in the civilian workforce and 1,314 people still looking for a job.
The Gila County unemployment rate stood at 7 percent in January, and 5.3 percent in May — before jumping back up to 6 percent in June.
However, that jump in June came even though the number of people with jobs rose by 221. The trick is, the number of people actively looking for work rose by 174 — which actually produced an increase in the rate despite the increase in the workforce.
June 2019 June 2018
Arizona 5.3% 5.1%
U.S. (seasonally adjusted)
Apache 11.1% 10.6%
Cochise 6.3% 5.7%
Coconino 6.1% 5.6%
Gila 6.0% 6.0%
Graham 5.6% 5.5%
Greenlee 4.6% 4.2%
La Paz 6.7% 6.4%
Maricopa 4.5% 4.3%
Mohave 6.3% 5.9%
Navajo 8.1% 8.0%
Pima 5.0% 4.7%
Pinal 5.5% 5.2%
Santa Cruz 8.4% 8.6%
Yavapai 5.0% 4.6%
Yuma 19.6% 19.7%
Goodbye Longhorn logo.
It was good to know you.
The University of Texas’ Office of Brand, Trademarks and Licensing has requested that the Payson Unified School District and its affiliate programs stop using the Longhorn logo it has utilized for decades because it is too similar to their logo, which is copyrighted.
“PUSD is working with UT and have come to an understanding to not use their logo or the likeness thereof starting immediately on any new materials, uniforms, merchandise, etc.,” said Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School Athletic Director Rich Ormand in an email.
“We have agreed that over the next several years PUSD will rotate out uniforms (sports, band, clubs, etc.) with their logo, and will not purchase any new ones with UT’s logo. PUSD cannot accept any merchandise, clothing or other items donated from civic groups with the UT logo.”
Ormand said Payson High graduate Joe Klein, who owns Axis Culture, is working with PUSD to help design “our own official logo(s).”
“These will be PUSD’s intellectual property and copyrighted through the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Licensing as PUSD’s personal logos,” Ormand said in the email. “Once a new logo is selected, it and its variations will be the only logo to be used for the district. Every team, club, program and school will use the same logo on all of its uniforms, merchandise, etc.”
In the meantime, Payson will use the block letter P as its logo.
Ormand said Payson is one of many high schools across the state and country dealing with the same issue.
“Over the last few years literally hundreds of schools across the country have been sent letters to stop using college or pro organizations’ logos,” he continued in the email.
“In the last year over 20 schools in Arizona alone have been dealt the same scenario PUSD is now going through with regards to them using college or pro organizations’ logos.”
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