Pine Creek Canyon residents are again reporting a mountain lion and cubs roaming the area. Just last week warnings of an animal being seen were issued, via social media, person-to-person accounts and HOA newsletters.
The sightings are not the first time the animals have been seen in the area. The animals have been seen around the area for at least the last two years.
Having lived in the canyon 29-plus years, wife Kay and I have seen several mountain lions including one we came across lying under a swing in our backyard. At the time, game managers monitored the lion’s behavior to determine if it would be a danger to people. Eventually it left the area.
Mountain lions living the canyon area is not surprising because they prey mainly on deer, usually eating about one a week. For lions, Pine Creek Canyon subdivisions are abundant hunting grounds — the area is overrun by deer, many who have lost their natural fear due to having been fed, often by hand, by homeowners who mistakenly believe they are helping the cats.
Lions hunt from dusk to dawn taking their prey from behind. They also dine on coyotes, raccoons, rodents and sometimes elk, which also thrive in the area.
Pine Strawberry Water improvement District general manger Cato Esquivel told board members in a mid-April report that Milk Ranch I water samples sent to a testing for evidence of mercury came back negative.
He also said the district is working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to learn what is required to bring the well back on line.
Because the well has not produced since 2014, Esquivel began testing for acute contaminants including coliform bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, barium, cyanide and more. The test results must be delivered to ADEQ no later than May 1.
The district is working to find what is required to flush the well into Pine Creek Canyon, which has been done in the past but was discontinued.
The quality of water coming out of MR I has spurred controversy since it was first drilled in 2006. When it was producing, several pumps at the site burned out, probably due to sand in the water. Grit in the water also played a role in a 2012 outage.
Also in the DM’s report to the board, Esquivel continues to pursue an agreement with the Portal IV Domestic Water District that would provide 1 million gallons of water per month to PSWID. The two sides are discussing a rate tier contract that would be beneficial to the two districts.
Rejoice gridiron faithful
Pine-Strawberry football fans can take heart that after a one-year hiatus, the Arizona State University Sun Devils are returning to Camp Tontozona for preseason training.
The Sun Devils travel to Tontozona on Aug. 5 and practice once a day from Aug. 6-10, with a public scrimmage on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 10, with the time to be announced at a later date. All practices are open to the public.
The team did not train their last year due to the installation of an all-weather playing surface. The Devils have practiced at the high mountain retreat since 1960.
Both plead guilty
Former PSWID board treasurer Mike Greer and district bookkeeper Becky Sigeti, both of whom pleaded not guilty for crimes against the district, have changed their pleas to guilty. Greer will be sentenced May 13 and Sigeti on May 20, both in Payson Superior Court.
For full details, read reporter Michele’s Nelson’s account in this issue of the Payson Roundup.
Kick back and enjoy
Music lovers have the opportunity to enjoy some of the finest down-home music in the Rim Country from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 4 at a block party at 6374 Ruin Hill Loop Drive in Pine.
Incidental Bluegrass performs. Roy Sandoval, Mark Sopeland, Tom Edney and Dale Knighton make up the band.
While Sandoval is a fine musician who learned from his father, he might be best known as the Gila County school superintendent.
The free event, which also includes food, is being sponsored by Woodshire at Elk Rim, a real estate development of 18 contemporary homes being built and sold north of Pine near Portals IV.
Thought for the week
Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.