The day might be just over the horizon when what is learned at Firewise Day could make the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Sounds harsh, but it is a fact of life for those of us living in the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world and a place where a single misplaced cigarette butt or spark ignites a catastrophic wildfire such as the Dude, Willow or Rodeo-Chediski.

Firewise Day, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 18 at the Pine Community Center, offers homeowners and others helpful hints on how to protect their families and homes in case of a wildfire and ways to prevent one from starting.

The Community Response Team (CERT) will educate citizens about potential hazards and train volunteers in life-saving emergency skills. Also the Department of Forest and Fire Management will attend to explain their role in wildfire protection. Information on Gila County’s Everbridge emergency notification system will be covered and expect the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee’s Firewise trailer, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Pine-Strawberry Fire Department and a bevy of other public safety agencies.

Great reading

This scribe is not a voracious reader. As a 37-year school teacher surrounded by books and a journalist constantly writing and proof reading articles, reading in free time — for me — would be like a postman going for a walk on his vacation.

But every once in a while I come across a book I simply can’t put down. This was the case with the New York Times bestseller “Grit: the Power and Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth.

It is a must-read for educators, athletes, students, parents and business people because it reinforces the notion that outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and perseverance Duckworth calls “Grit.”

That should come as no secret to educators and coaches all of whom have had that highly talented kid who underachieves and the much less gifted one who refuses to give in and achieves beyond wildest expectations.

Duckworth’s hypothesis is that genius and talent is not what really leads to success but rather it is a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

During her research, Duckworth formulated tests for measuring how “gritty” a person is in meeting his or her challenges.

“Natural talent is helpful but effort matters most,” was her finding.

Library Friends raffle & sale

Pine Library Friends benefits held most every holiday throughout the year help earn the money needed to keep the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library the finest in small town Arizona.

Next on the list of benefits is the Memorial Day Raffle and Book Sale.

Up for raffle is a Budweiser cooler filled with beer, wine, accessories and goodies. Tickets are one for $2, six for $5 and 15 for $10. The drawing will be at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 26 in the library.

Tickets can be purchased at the library or at the Friends Book Sale to be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, May 24, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 in the library activity room.

Consolidation not an answer

Pine-Strawberry parents with children attending the local elementary school should be elated a legislative bill that would have forced the Payson, Pine-Strawberry, Young and Tonto Basin school districts to consolidate has died.

Consolidating school districts is nothing new; talk of merger often spread throughout the four communities during my 27 years in the Payson district

Politicians argue consolidation is a solid concept because it results in significant administrative and other cost savings.

The truth is, all four districts are run efficiently and any savings would be minimal.

Most importantly, local residents would lose control of their schools with decisions about Pine-Strawberry possibly made in Payson or elsewhere.

It’s best the districts were left independent of one another.

O’Dell touts quilt show

Linda O’Dell had a long career as an educator, Gila County school superintendent and Pine-Strawberry school superintendent. Now in semi-retirement she, however, has turned her attention to the Strawberry Patchers sewing club.

With planning ongoing for the Patchers’ 23rd Annual Quilt Show, Friday and Saturday, June 7-8 at the community center in Pine, O’Dell is issuing a public invitation saying the event is “a labor of love for the 40-plus members of Patchers.”

The show is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and admission is $3. Those who donate a non-perishable food item for the local food bank at the door will be given a raffle ticket to a quilt drawing to be held Saturday, June 8.

The quilt show features a vendor mall, free demonstrations, bake sale, door prizes and raffle basket. Viewers’ choice voting is on Friday only.

The deadline for entering a quilt in the show is Monday, May 20.

For details call O’Dell at 928-951-4895 or go to:

In lieu of “Thought for the week” let’s shout out a robust “Hoorah” to Pine Trail Run Race Director Scott Kehl for his tireless and dedicated work in staging a highly successful event last Saturday. Also, a “Hoorah” to all the volunteers who helped.

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