bob lockhart

Christopher-Kohls Fire Chief Bob Lockhart recently celebrated his 47th year in fire service.

Christopher Creek is enjoying a mid-October warm spell that one might qualify as Indian summer.

Requisites are we have passed the autumnal equinox, we experienced a brief cool-down recently, and our days are warm, dry, and hazy. What we would trade for is cool and wet, or just wet, period.

Conversations have turned to what is expected for our winter. Opinions are varied and almost everybody has one. While some long for deep snow and cold nights, that optimism needs to be tempered. When we look at forecasts by the National Weather Service for the period between now and next April, they are calling for drier and warmer than normal weather.

This prolonged summer-ish weather is a great opportunity to finish some of those chores we may have put off. It’s high time of get some extra winter firewood cut and stacked or get the leaves and needles bagged for the dumpster coming soon. We could continue to see increased numbers of visitors getting in that last camping or fishing trip. Meanwhile, while warm weather is not what our hunters relish, it made for a perfect day last Saturday when we had a couple hundred folks visiting the Creek.

There were 80 in attendance for the Nancy Corley celebration of life. That event was held on the Landmark patio, Kevin Corley and his sister, Kayelen, hosting. Every detail of that mid-day gathering came off without a hitch.

Later that day, the Waltermeyer Meadow, along Christopher Creek further upstream, saw well over a 100 attendees on the manicured grounds. Everything was decorated for the wedding of Don Waltermeyer’s daughter, Holly. The celebration continued throughout the warm afternoon and well into the evening. The sounds of the music from the party wafted down the canyon into town for many hours after dark. That day, Christopher Creek Lodge also hosted a wedding on their venue. The Creek had another busy weekend.

We are just about two weeks from the Nov. 3 election. Here in the Creek, we have a polling place at the church on the Loop next door to the fire station. We are expecting a large turnout and hope everybody knows it is fine to bring your mail-in ballot to the poll and deposit it yourself. Joining me in working the election are Jim Oliver, Judy Tolle, a gentleman who drives out from Payson, Silvanus Egler, and a new volunteer. Jim Hathaway, from up in See Canyon homes, recently stepped up to help out. The addition not only filled a vacancy, but also helped to bring down the average age of our crew. Two years from now, when the next election cycle comes around, there may be other vacancies. Our crew is not getting any younger. Our Zane Grey Precinct takes in an area from Tonto Village to Ponderosa Springs and we look forward to seeing everybody at the polls.

The Wildflowers met for lunch at El Rancho in Payson last Wednesday. We have lost some of our regulars in the last year and it just doesn’t seem to be the same. We talked about the upcoming celebration for Olive Matus. The event will be held “At the place she loved, in the town she loved.” Knowing that Olive made many Payson friends in the last dozen years, we especially want to reach out to them and encourage everyone to join us on the Creekside patio at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24. On your way, to and from, be sure to check out all the colors in the canyons around the Creek. James Haviland and his crew at Creekside will share in the hosting of this event. Olive made a big contribution to the lives of many of us in this area. Be sure to bring your stories to share.

It has been a while since we have checked in at the CKFD Station 51. Chief Lockhart met with me for 30 minutes discussing volume of calls, forest health, water conditions, and other issues. Then we got down to his anniversary of 47 years with the fire service. He says for him it is still an honor to serve and he believes he can still make a difference. He has served with four different agencies or departments, two in Illinois and two in Arizona. Christopher/Kohls remains his biggest challenge primarily due to fiscal constraints while covering a district of 43 square miles with just two men. We congratulate the chief on 47 years and thank him for his next three years.

Finally, again we remind everybody to cut back on water usage until spring. By the way, summer-ish is one we just made up. Let me know what you think … and that’s another week in the Creek.

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