Pine Strawberry Take Pride Project members have tapped Mike and Janet Brandt as the 2018 “Volunteers of the Year.”
The two were named by Take Pride president and founder Ira Gibel during ceremonies held May 26 at the Memorial Day Arts and Crafts festival in Pine.
In introducing the pair, Gibel was lavish in his praise, saying, “Mike spent 25 years in public service as a captain/paramedic with the Pine Strawberry Fire District and after retirement continued service to the community as a volunteer with Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction.”
About Janet, Gibel said, “She wrote grants for the fire district and then for PSFR ... that and her fundraisers and business and private sector donations have been responsible for bringing in excess of $3 million to this community for various wildfire prevention projects.”
Following Mike’s retirement in 2014 from PSFR, Chief Gary Morris lauded him saying, “If you ever wanted an example of what community involvement is and giving back to the community, “It’s Captain Mike Brandt.”
Mike is also well-known for his commitment to developing Firewise programs for the two communities and his active involvement and leadership in creating a brush-free firebreak zone around Pine and Strawberry.
In addition, the couple spends countless volunteer hours helping stage the annual Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race that is blossoming into one of the finest cycling competitions and family events in Arizona. Years ago, Mike and Janet also help found a loose knit group of citizens to support fuel reduction efforts around Pine-Strawberry.
The group eventually evolved into the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee, which now helps build firebreaks and trails and sponsors the Fire on the Rim Race and Firewise Day.
In 2012, the committee received the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award and over the years has brought in millions for various fire mitigation projects.
In addition, the committee has also developed trails crucial to the future of the two high country hamlets.
“If we build the trails, the forest will become impacted by recreation, which will give us extra clout when it comes to future clearing projects,” Brandt contends.
“The trails also give fire crews quick access to areas where a fire might be underway.”
Whenever Mike has the opportunity to speak in public, he is quick to praise his wife, “She’s put in countless hours organizing and developing ideas that will serve this community for decades to come. “Her skills and commitment have been very valuable to this community.”
Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Manager Cato Esquivel had both bad and good news in his recent report to the governing board.
The good news - ADEQ tests show water from the Milk Ranch 1 well is safe from all contaminates.
The bad news - the district will not connect with the Portals 4 subdivision that could have provided 1 million gallons of water per month to PSWID.
ADEQ officially reactivated MR 1 on May 7 and turbidity meters were installed to measure the cloudiness of the water.
Turbidity has been a problem with MR 1 since it first began pumping in 2006. Over the years, the water is believed to have caused several booster pump failures and scads of customer complaints.
The new meter to be installed could end turbidity issues because it will close a valve to a water tank when turbidity is sensed and then flush it out.
The discussion with Portal 4 apparently ended due to basic philosophical differences.
Also on the PSWID scene ADEQ has told the district it will inspect facilities on June 20. The inspection will include an examination of water system records.
Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library joins libraries across the country for a summer reading program, “A Universe of Stories.”
Hosted by the Collaborative Summer Library Program the name was chosen by library professionals to help inspire children and adults of all ages to dream big, believe in themselves and create their own story. The program features everything readers need to create a fun and successful program including book and music lists, crafts, internet resources and much more.
The PS program begins June 1 and continues through Aug. 16. Online registration can be done at: pinelibrary.azsummerreadingorg.
Thought for the week
“One book, one pencil, one child and one teacher can change the world.”