Pine and Strawberry residents are fortunate there are so many community-minded and benevolent citizens living in the two tiny mountain hamlets.

Among the most altruistic are the members of the Mountain Village Foundation who throughout the year work unselfishly supporting admirable causes.

The group’s main focus is helping children, and to accomplish that goal, MVF helps fund extracurricular activities at the Pine-Strawberry Elementary School, children’s programs at Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library, the “Christmas for Needy Kids” gift drive and other local youth activities.

Throughout July, MVF members collected unwrapped gifts and stocking stuffers to give out to local youngsters as Christmas gifts.

Most years the foundation is able to provide gifts to 75-80 children from low-income families.

MVF has also provided financial aid for the Senior Citizens Affairs Council Meals on Wheels, Pine-Strawberry Firefighters Association and Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction, as well as providing one-time emergency assistance, such as help paying utility bills or home safety repairs.

To earn the money for the causes, MVF members host a number of benefits throughout the year including the very popular pancake breakfasts held during the summer arts and crafts festival.

Next on the fundraising agenda is the group’s annual “Western Steak Fry” set from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 11 at the StrawBeary Bear just off Highway 87 and Ralls Road.

The dinner includes ribeye steak, beans, coleslaw, roll and dessert. Tickets are $20 per dinner and may be purchased from any MVF member, at the “Bear” restaurant or by calling 928-951-1061. Tickets my also be purchased at the door.

In addition to the dinner, the event will feature a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and fun raffle baskets.

Obviously scrumptious food, prizes, fun activities and plenty of old-fashioned, small-town camaraderie will highlight the benefit.

Make it a priority to attend and lend your support to a worthy nonprofit.

In staging the dinner, MVF members extend thanks to Sally Randall from Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty for her “generous donation.”

Oh no, not again

Just when Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District customers thought the ill-fated Milk Ranch 1 well was finally online and producing it was shut down three weeks ago after sediment was discovered on two occasions in one week.

Last month, this scribe wrote the long-plagued well was producing and helping keep PSWID water tanks full.

But that proved short-lived, as have all other efforts to bring the well to life.

District Manager Cato Esquivel, however, remains confident MR 1 can become viable, “We’ll get it.”

As for other district wells, Strawberry Hollow No. 3 is back online and producing about 25 gpm. Strawberry Hollow 1, which hasn’t produced since May 2012, has passed ADEQ testing and is producing 20 gpm.

At a July 25 board meeting, Esquivel told members negotiations with the Salt River Project to obtain water rights from the C.C. Cragin Reservoir would soon begin.

If successful, the district could secure a one-time allowance of about 400 acre-feet of water from the reservoir.

Breathtaking aroma

The smell of pigskin wafting through Pine and Strawberry is coming from Camp Tontozona.

The sweet odor, which each year marks the onset of football, is because the Arizona State University Sun Devil football team will arrive at the scenic and iconic mountain treat Monday, Aug. 5 and remain until Saturday, Aug. 10.

The team begins practicing Tuesday, Aug. 6 and continues once a day at times to be announced. On Saturday, the final scrimmage will be held before the team returns to its friendly digs in Tempe.

On Saturday, thousands of Devils disciples annually show up for the scrimmage.

Since there is limited parking at Tontozona long walks are often required to reach the practice field.

So, be prepared with comfortable shoes and plenty of water.

Fans hankering for a hootin’ good time should show up post scrimmage at one of the Kohl’s Ranch or Christopher Creek waterin’ holes to enjoy the bouncy banter of Sun Devil faithful, especially those targeting the rascal felines from Tucson.

Go Devils!

Hoops over the horizon

Another effort to provide the Rim Country’s young people a stepping-stone to building their basketball skills is underway. Robert Mavis, of Payson, is searching for volunteer coaches for a proposed National Junior Basketball (NJB) program that fields teams in Arizona, Hawaii and Nevada. The program is designed for developing both boys and girls in a semi-competitive atmosphere that focuses on fundamental recreation basketball in a fun and organized environment.

It will be open to players in second through eighth grade. NJB is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 by Dennis Murphy Jr. who, as a high school coach in Orange County, Calif., had a vision of creating a youth basketball league based on sportsmanship and player development.

Before further plans can be laid for forming local leagues, Mavis needs commitment from volunteer coaches.

For more information or to volunteer, message him at or call 928-951-0281.

Calling all quilters

The 11th Annual “A Beautiful Auction” is Saturday, Aug. 10 at the community center in Pine. Doors open at 9 a.m. for registration and previews.

The auction begins at 1 p.m. and admission is free.

Those who donate a can of non-perishable food the local food bank will be entered into a drawing for a quilt.

The event will include a boutique and the opportunity quilt and sewing machine raffles.

“Come and enjoy the bidding fun” is the invitation from the sponsoring Friends of Strawberry Patchers group. Arizona Attic Auctions is supporting the event.

For more information, call Elaine Putnam at 928-978-3464 or go to

Thought for the week

“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.” — Lou Holtz

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