The Arizona State University football team wrapped up a week of practices Aug. 10 at Camp Tontozona. An enthusiastic crowd of an estimated 3,000 turned out for the camp-ending scrimmage.

Along the sidelines, in what few bleachers there are at Tontozona, on hillsides and in waterin’ holes following the game, Devils Disciples hashed over the team’s chances of playing in the Rose Bowl and beating Arizona along the way.

But also on longtime fans’ minds was the absence of the football camp’s founder — Hall of Fame coach Frank Kush who died June 22, 2017.

Coach Kush began taking his players to Tontozona in 1960 and used the time there to mold his teams into some of the best in the nation including the 1970 (11-0) Peach Bowl championship squad and the 1975 (12-0) Fiesta Bowl champions.

At Tontozona last week, current head coach Herm Edwards emphasized to players that Kush was the finest ASU coach ever and his contributions to the program and school should never be forgotten.

This scribe was fortunate enough as an ASU student in the early ’70s to have Coach Kush and the legendary Bill Kajikawa as teachers in the class “Theory of Coaching Football.”

I know from conversations over the years with Coach Kush, he loved the Rim Country and cherished every moment he spent here.

In 1986, during the Longhorns run to the state championship game, Kush showed up at a team meal to lend words of encouragement.

In 1990, he unexpectedly turned up at a Longhorn practice and later that evening was on the sidelines rooting for the Horns in a game against Parker.

He is missed. RIP Coach Kush.

New postmaster

If the new postmaster at the Pine-Strawberry post office looks remarkably like the one seen previously at Payson post office, there’s a reason.

Ray Argel has been assigned to Pine-Strawberry after serving at the Payson P.O. since 2014. Argel says he has worked for the postal service for 33 years and is “happy to be in Pine and eager to service our customers’ needs.”

At the post office, over the past few months, employees have been able to align their delivery system to match Gila County 911 addressing, which means this month, August, will be the final one the post office will require county documentation for annual address verification.

Beginning in September, patrons will need an ID, such as a driver’s license, and a utility bill to verify their addresses.

For more information, call Argel at 928-476-3275.

TRSR volunteers

keen, committed

One glimpse of the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue teams training schedule reveals the volunteers are a hard-working dedicated group.

For example, the Track/Trail K-9 members practice each Saturday in August, save Aug. 17, due to the rodeo parade.

The man-tracking team next hones its skills Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Beeline Highway and the dump road.

The rope training team practices at 8 a.m. the third Saturday of each month. On Saturday, Aug. 24 the group will host a session at the Second Crossing above Water Wheel.

TSR’s swift-water team will also take part.

Navigation volunteers are set to practice at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Houston Mesa Trailhead.

The instructor, Jim Oelerich, is recommending volunteers download a GPS system on the smartphones before the session.

Dive team training will take place at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 27 at the Roosevelt Lake substation.

The Search and Rescue Academy will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13 at the community center.

Since TRSAR is not publicly funded, the team depends on the generosity of community members to continue their efforts.

To donate, go to

Gearing up for Labor Day celebrations

Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild members are prepping for the upcoming Labor Days Arts and Crafts Festival while desert dwellers from the southland anxiously look forward to the final festival of the summer and a last gasp trek to a cool mountain respite.

The festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the following day, Sunday at the community center in Pine.

Traditionally, about 50 booths are set up on the center grounds and another 27 or so indoors.

To enter the festival, vendors and boutique exhibitors must submit photos of their wares before they are allowed to participate

Having juried exhibits means customers can shop a prized selection of products.

Admission is free to the public.

Although the festival begins each day at 8 a.m., the highly popular pancake breakfasts tip off at 7 a.m. with long lines waiting for a meal of pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee for only $5 per plate.

Most important, the sponsoring Mountain Village Foundation donates the profits to worthy causes in Pine-Strawberry.

Last year, the MVF was able to purchase Christmas gifts for more than 70 needy children who might otherwise not have received presents.

Since MVF’s founding, its focus has been helping children and supporting extracurricular activities at the Pine-Strawberry Elementary School. The nonprofit also supports Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library programs, Senior Citizens Affairs Council/Meals on Wheels, Pine-Strawberry Firefighters Association and Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction. MVF has also funded one-time emergency assistance, such as help paying utility bills or home safety repairs.

Another big draw at the festival is a myriad of concessionaires hawking fair-type foods guaranteed to quench thirst and appetite.

Thought for the week

Teaching students to count is good but teaching what counts is best.

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