ASU Old Main

Old Main is one of oldest buildings on the Arizona State University campus and was the site of the Proposition 200 rallies that made the college in Tempe one of the state’s universities in 1958.

The high-tech Type 3 wildland firefighting engine built and modified by Pine Strawberry firefighters is paying big dividends.

Chief Gary Morris estimates the wildland-urban interface engine was built for a cost of about $110,000, which represents a sizable savings when compared to the $275,000 price tag for a new truck.

Most significantly, the costs of building the engine have been recouped with federal payback money earned during the 15 wildland firefighting stints the P/S department has been dispatched to over the past few months.

Morris explains that when a local crew is sent to help out on a wildland fire outside the local district, the federal government reimburses P/S Fire 100 percent of personnel costs and when crews are actually fighting fires, the department is paid an hourly rate plus “fill-in” pay for firefighter replacements in the two local fire houses.

“The money we earned (this year) has completely paid for our truck in just one season,” Morris said.

With it owned free and clear, any money earned next fire season will be used for capital improvements such as new EKG monitors.

Helping out with Woolsey

The Pine-Strawberry firefighters dispatched Nov. 12 to California to assist in controlling blazes there were assigned to the Woolsey Fire near Malibu.

Because the fires were fairly well contained by the time local crews arrived “They didn’t see much action,” said Morris.

The fire destroyed 96,949 acres of the state’s scenic coastal area as well as 1,500 structures. Three people also died in the inferno.

Over the summer, the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department was kept hopping dispatching crews seven consecutive weeks to fight wildland fires, both in Arizona and California.

“We rotated three crews,” Morris said.

Tonto Basin, Christopher Creek-Kohls and Hellsgate also sent crews to fight wildland fires.

On choking ...

Turning three-quarters of a century years old, doesn’t erase some of the discomforting memories of decades ago.

For this scribe, the recollections date back to 1962 during a cool, crisp fall evening in Tucson’s Arizona Stadium where the Wildcat football team pulled off a stunning upset, 20-17, over the favored Arizona State Sun Devils.

As a freshman at ASU that year, several dorm-buddies and I borrowed a clunker of a car to make the trip to Tucson for the big game.

Unfortunately, the tickets we secured were seats near some well-lubricated and vociferous Arizona alumni.

The game was a nail-biter early on before the Cats pulled off a surprising 20-17 upset.

As the final minutes ticked off the game clock and Arizona’s win was assured, Arizona buffs erupted over and over with the chant, “You choked Tempe, you choked ....”

As fans left the stadium, the ear-splitting taunts continued into the parking lot and on into town.

For those of us attending ASU, knowing our team lost was disheartening, but even more despicable was the Wildcats fans calling our university, “Tempe” as if it was a high school.

Only five years earlier, Wildcat alumni and well-heeled backers waged a heated and spiteful campaign to stop Arizona State College at Tempe from becoming the state’s second university.

Many of the disgruntled in Tucson referred to the school as “Tempe Normal” referencing its early, formative years.

Although ASC at Tempe met all the requirements to become a university, the move was thwarted for years by an Arizona Board of Regents and Legislature dominated by University of Arizona alumni.

At one point during the quest to become a university, a powerful state senator with UA ties tried to throw a bone by introducing legislation to name the school “Tempe University” rather than ASU.

Fed up with the UA’s opposition, a band of almost 500 ASC at Tempe students in 1958 began a drive to collect enough signatures to have an initiative name change (Prop. 200) put on the ballot.

Prior to a football game played just before the vote on the initiative, a ring of Arizona hoodlums (or “rascals” as former coach Frank Kush called those from down south) burned “Vote No on Prop 200” on the ASC field.

The shenanigans were to no avail, however, as voters approved the initiative by about a 2-1 margin in every one of Arizona’s counties except Pima, where the UA campus is located.

No surprise there.

Despite last gasp opposition from UA political bigwigs, the governor on Dec. 5, 1958 signed an executive order changing the school’s name to Arizona State University.

Looking back, it’s obvious the Wildcat fans at that 1962 football game weren’t satisfied with a win over the Sun Devils, they were determined to remain the only show in town relying on any dastardly deeds necessary

In light of Arizona State’s pulsating 41-40 win over UA last week, a game in which the Devils outscored UA 20-0 in the fourth quarter, I say, “You choked Tucson, you choked ....”

Pirch downs elk;

bear retreats

During this scribe’s first year in the Payson Unified School District I heard tales from fellow teachers of what a great outdoorsman then-Payson High wrestling coach Dennis Pirch was.

After becoming good friends with the affable coach, I quickly found out those were not tales, they were absolute truths.

Coach Pirch is as much at home in the woods as couch potatoes are in their recliners.

Knowing him as I do, it was no surprise to learn last week that he downed a nice sized bull elk making an on-target 25-yard shot with his bow from a tree stand.

Nothing special, that type of accuracy is common place for him.

Oldest son Clifford, a pro fisherman on the Bassmaster Elite tour, reacted by saying, “You can count on my dad to be the first one to send an arrow.”

This hunt, however, had an added twist.

While processing the elk for the pack-out, a bear decided to check in on the goings-on.

Thankfully for the animal, no confrontation between him and Pirch ... maybe the bear realized the former national coach of the year has over the years remained “Mobile, Hostile and Agile” thanks in part to the 25-plus seasons he waged, sharing his tenacity with Longhorn matmen.

Had the two gone toe-to-toe, my wager would have been on coach Pirch, if not by a near fall or pin, by a major decision.

Holiday snack

Looking for a delicious chip dip to serve during holiday parties?

If so, you might want to try one granddaughter Jenny — a student at Colorado State University — whipped up and served Thanksgiving Day.

Everyone at the family gathering raved about it served with crinkle chips, crackers and veggies.

It is:

1, 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature

1, 6.5-ounce can of minced clams drained and juice reserved

2 green onions white and green parts, finely chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Tabasco sauce to taste

Mash softened cream cheese with a fork until soft and creamy. Slowly add in 1 tablespoon of clam juice while mixing with fork and cream well. Add lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Add green onion and clams to mixture. Add a few dashes of Tabasco to taste.

Christmas Village in Pine

Those hankering to enjoy a bit of Christmas spirit will want to stop by “Old Settler’s Christmas Village” from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 16.

The village is located east of Beeline Highway directly across from Payson Concrete in Pine.

There, visitors can enjoy a bonfire, Christmas caroling, hot chocolate, coffee, a children’s only shopping area and visits by mini-horses from the Dueker Therapeutic Riding Ranch.

An out-of-towner who visited the village last weekend said it featured, “Great cabin gifts, warm hospitality and yummy samples.” All proceeds benefit the Pine Strawberry Food Bank.

Crappie secrets revealed

There are many of us “Pine Cones” who enjoy crappie fishing at Roosevelt Lake.

Those who do will want to visit the Mesa Bass Pro Shop at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5 to hear Art Chamberlin provide tips on “Roosevelt Lake Habitat Crappie Fishing.”

Chamberlin, accompanied by Game and Fish officers, will discuss how recently built artificial habitat structures are improving fishing on the lake.

Chamberlin, a longtime fishing guide on the lake, is widely considered — along with Curt Rambo — the finest crappie fisherman in the state.

Food Bank drive kicks off

The Pine Strawberry Food Bank’s annual Christmas drive to collect turkeys, hams and foodstuffs for the less fortunate in our two mountain hamlets has started.

Those who wish to contribute may drop off turkeys and hams at the Ponderosa Market in Pine. A refrigerator/freezer to store the meats will be on site.

Also, cash donations may be mailed to: The Pine Strawberry Food Bank, P.O. Box 1534, Pine, AZ 85544.

A donation of just $25 to $35 will purchase an entire meal for a disadvantaged family.

Last year, the local bank provided much needed nourishment and sustenance to about 100 families in Pine and Strawberry, but officials expect even more this year, especially during the holiday seasons.

In donating, it is crucial the foodstuffs be healthy and will help people live well.

Among the most wanted items on most food bank lists are canned or dry beans, canned fruits and vegetables, canned tuna, salmon or chicken, peanut butter, grains, hot and cold cereals, juices and healthy snacks.

Pine-Strawberry distributions to qualifying families are held at 1:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at the Pine Cultural Hall.

The date for a special Christmas distribution will be announced soon.

Thought for the week

Life is simple, it’s just not easy.

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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