Chuck and Barbara Casey entertained guests at the recent Wine Around the Library benefit with a wide selection of their unique takes on the blues, classics, country and jazz.

Trouble in Paradise, an extremely talented husband and wife duo, stood out as one of the premier attractions at the recent Wine Around the Library benefit.

Ticket-holders obviously attended for plates of appetizers, See’s candies, wine, beer, old-fashioned hometown camaraderie and to support the library, but also to enjoy the soulful songs of Chuck and Barbara Casey.

Playing outdoors under a sun-shading canopy, the duo drew throngs of library patrons who obviously relished listening to the pair while noshing on platefuls of goodies and sipping beverages.

For decades, the pair has entertained Rim Country music lovers with their versions of blues, classical, country and jazz.

The pair also writes their own music including “One Mile Closer to Heaven,” which is their ode to living in Pine.

Their music has its roots almost 40 years ago in Wichita, Kan., where Chuck was playing in an Italian restaurant Barbara was visiting.

Knowing of her musical talents, Chuck invited her to sit in and the two became fast friends, united by their love of music.

From that fateful evening, their relationship blossomed and in 1985 they were married.

Barbara earned her music degree from Wichita State University and went on to study at the Hank Thompson School for Country Music in Claremore, Okla.

Chuck also attended Wichita State, but different years than Barbara. He also studied music at Phillips University in Oklahoma.

Between the two of them they play the mandolin, guitar, violin and cello.

Today, the two are kept busy playing at summer festivals, arts and crafts shows, birthday parties, family gatherings, waterin’ holes, restaurants and years ago were guest performers at the Payson Roundup’s gala 60th anniversary celebration at posh Chaparral Pines.

Once a month for years and years, the couple has also spearheaded the highly popular fiddlers jams held in the cultural center.

There, musicians from around central Arizona join the Caseys, cutting loose with some of the finest toe-tappin’ music in Arizona.

When vanloads of disabled children and adults from Payson show up, Chuck beams with pride knowing how much they enjoy the performances.

During the jams, visitors can expect hearing such time-honored classics as “Turkey in the Straw,” “Down Yonder,” “Margie,” “Ladies Purse,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” “Ragtime Annie,” “Amazing Grace” and “Tennessee Waltz.” There’s even an ages-old song called, “Payson’s Prize,” that’s sometimes played. Newcomers to the jams quickly notice there is a comedic banter between musicians that lightens the moods and spirits of all.

While the jams are popular with Pine and Strawberry residents, they also often draw tourists driving through the Rim Country who notice the get-togethers that are among the longest running events on most calendars.

Weeks services tomorrow

The sudden and unexpected death last week of longtime local businessman Tom Weeks sent shock waves reverberating throughout Pine and Strawberry where he was known for his civic contributions, honesty, work ethic and love for family and friends.

As a past member of the local school and fire district governing boards and current member of the water improvement district board, Tom devoted countless volunteer hours to helping make Pine and Strawberry a better place for all to live.

Our hearts and thoughts are with Tom’s family in this time of sorrow.

Services for Tom will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pine

Another zoning dispute

churns through Pine

As if the controversy swirling around zoning changes for the Rimside Village isn’t enough, another hullabaloo has raised its ugly head.

On Friday, Oct. 26, Patrick Gleason-Moore, innkeeper at the Beeline Guest House in Pine, emailed a public plea to residents asking help in stopping “the expansion of Pine Ice Company and Chevron station.”

He says he wants a proposed zoning change that would allow the expansion be denied because, “I believe (it) will affect the current and future direction of Pine-Strawberry.

Additionally, he added, “This may be a test of the community plan adopted by the Gila County Board of supervisors.”

A local committee formulated the “Vision Statement” to which Gleason-Moore is referring over a two-year period with input from residents throughout the two towns. It was later added to the Gila County Comprehensive Area plan. The plan addresses concerns over growth including efficient use of water, clean air, noise pollution, traffic flow and light pollution.

Gleason-Moore argues the proposed zoning changes for the Chevron station and Pine Ice would be in conflict with the vision statement and “negatively affect the future of Pine-Strawberry.”

He also contends complaints about the two businesses have gone unanswered because “the Gila County Community Development office seems unable to understand this as a pattern of nuisance.”

If the zoning changes are approved, the innkeeper says he will share a property line with the station/ice company, which will “negatively affect my business.”

Some local residents call Gleason-Moore’s complaints off base because the station and ice plant were in place long before he purchased the guesthouse.

“He shouldn’t have bought (the guest house) if he thought it was going to be a problem,” said one recipient of the letter.

Due to the sudden and unexpected death of Tom Weeks, the owner/operator of the station/ice company in question, this scribe — out of respect for Tom’s family in its time of sorrow — did not contact the family for a response.

A meeting regarding the zoning change was held Tuesday, Oct. 30 in the Pine Senior Dining Hall, but some said they would not attend because it was too near to Weeks’ untimely death.

PSFR gathers for planning

Pine-Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee members met Monday to mull over several of the group’s most ambitious projects and fundraisers.

No results were available by press time, but discussions were held on brush pit updates (Don Ennon), Firewise Day (Sarah Gerlach), the summer cross country foot race (Scott Kehl) and PSFR President Mike Brandt informed the committee on Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race sponsors.

The next committee meeting is set for 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the Pine Senior Dining Room.

The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee was formed in 2004 as a group to coordinate and support fuel reduction efforts in the two towns.

The committee was not formally recognized until it was made a partner in a U.S. Forest Service grant in March of 2005. The committee’s original purpose was to be the voice of the residents and to help conceive new projects and innovations that would bring Pine and Strawberry recognition as towns willing to work together to make the area a safer place to live.

Alice visits the Buffs

Pine Strawberry School students and faculty were treated to the student-led play “Alice in Wonderland” yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 1.

Parents and other community members have the opportunity to see the production at 6 p.m. today, Friday, Nov. 2 in the gymnasium.

Also at the school, progress reports will be available on Friday, Nov. 9 and there will be no school on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 12.

Professional development day for teachers will be on Friday, Nov. 16. Student dismissals will be at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

There will be no school Nov. 16-23 for the Thanksgiving holidays.

Vote Tuesday

While the 2018 election is expected to draw good numbers of voters, it has been proven that the turnout in the United States lags far behind other democratic countries.

According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. voting is near the bottom of 32 counties with developed economies.

Even more concerning, is only 52 percent of high school graduates vote as opposed to 75 percent of citizens who have earned bachelor’s degrees.

Voting is a privilege that should be cherished by all citizens, not a select few. Our high school civics teachers stressed to us voting is crucial in our country because it provides people the opportunity to voice their opinion and vote for what they believe in. The ballots also hold elected officials accountable for their behavior while in office and it prevents minorities from dictating the policies of a majority.

Election Day in Nov. 6 — Make your voice heard and protect your rights by voting.

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