Welcome winter

A white Christmas, while magical, can bring guests and folks who may not be used to being in a rural, snow-filled area. Here are a few tips to help keep you and yours safe in 2020.

• Stay off the roads until the storm is over and the plows do their job. Even 1 inch of snow suddenly make roadway conditions treacherous especially when it’s snowing so hard visibility drops.

Ice exists in surprising locations; black ice is tricky to see. So, slow down, there is no need to rush.

• Batteries, candles, snow shovel — among other important items in a kit just for winter power outages, which are common in rural communities such as ours.

• Remember that the fire department is for emergencies only. Do not call for current road conditions or snow levels. The Arizona Department of Transportation has 511, and an app with roadway conditions and the weather channel provides snow levels. If possible, get to know your neighbors, check in with them from time to time.

The Mogollon Ranger District, based on the weather outlook over the next couple of weeks, combined with the freezing and thawing creating a very muddy road base, began closing the gates on some forest roads in the Coconino Forest, beginning Monday, Dec. 23. It is in the interest of public safety, and protection of the forest roads, that these seasonal road closures are instituted. The roads will most likely reopen in early spring, the end of March or beginning of April. As soon as I know I will let you know.

Giving back

Almost 70 children benefited from the Mountain Village Foundation community toy drive. Those of you who helped make this year a huge success, Village members say thank you. Kiddos got a toy all for themselves and they provided a tote bag for each family full of hygiene items. A big thank you to Sportsman Chalet, Rim Cutters in Strawberry, the Early Bird Cafe, Pine Creek Fudge & Espresso and the Coach House in Pine for allowing Mountain Village Foundation to place toy boxes in their business. Thank you to Justice McNeeley Foundation for their help in filling the hygiene bags.

New Year’s resolutions

Resolutions are the topic of conversation. Standards like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more will be on some lists. May I suggest a resolution or two?

• Resolve to get more involved in your community. Pine-Strawberry has volunteers working on everything from helping kids, feeding seniors, cleaning up the town, organizing blood drives, maintaining and creating trails, hosting events and so many more.

• Resolve to thank those community members who are volunteering their time to make our mountain town a happier place to live. So many volunteers, no room to name them all, from board members to folks flipping pancakes.

• Resolve to try every restaurant in town. The secret of Pine-Strawberry is that we are fast becoming a foodie village. All of our restaurants have delectable food. I’m sure you have your regular hang, but stretch out, try them all.

• Resolve to stop in every tiny shop and store in town. Start in Strawberry and work your way to Pine. You will be surprised at the treasures hidden here in Pine-Strawberry. Antiques, custom creations and unique decor lurk behind doors you’ve yet to open!

Happy New Year and see ya’ in 2020.

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