Payson High School sophomore Raci Miranda, formerly a student-athlete at Pine-Strawberry School, was named “Newcomer Athlete of the Year” at the Payson High School Hall of Fame ceremony Oct. 19 at Mazatzal Hotel and Casino.

During Miranda’s freshman season at PHS, she starred in softball earning prestigious 3A East second team all-region honors after compiling impressive statistics including a .355 batting average with a .451 on-base percentage, 23 RBIs and 26 runs.

As Miranda ages she might look back on a 10-2 upset victory over Snowflake as among her most memorable moments.

The No. 3 ranked Lobos entered the game a clear favorite over No. 17 Payson, but PHS pulled off the upset in part thanks to Miranda’s clutch three-run double.

Beating Snowflake, no matter the sport, is always huge for present and former Payson athletes and coaches because the Lobos dominated the Longhorns for so many seasons after PHS moved to Class 3A from 2A.

At Pine-Strawberry School, Miranda excelled as both a student and athlete.

As a member of the Buffalo archery team, she was one of four girls to qualify for the National Archery in Schools Program National Tournament and was a member of the school’s first-ever Math League competition, finishing fifth in the highly competitive mathematics showdown.

Her pursuit of academic excellence continued at PHS where she excelled on the grade 9 AzMerit tests in 2018.

Miranda is continuing her softball career by playing on a club team.

Trunk or Treat

The dangers of door-to-door trick or treating in the dark evening hours are always concerning for parents.

But in Pine and Strawberry, Stacy Figueroa — a firefighter/engineer on the two towns’ fire department, has a solution to the dilemma.

Each October she helps organize a Trunk or Treat fest that is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the Pine Fire Station.

Figueroa’s dedication coupled with help from the community have helped the celebration grow each year to the point that next week’s event, the fifth annual, has drawn a record 35 cars with others waiting in the wings.

For the evening, benefactors from around Pine and Strawberry have donated candy, money and food.

Since the Early Bird Café donated hot dogs and buns, other donations are being used to buy baked goods, paper products, drinks and to renew decorations.

For the trick or treating, trunk or treat spaces will be set up at the fire station and across the street at Tymeless Antiques as well as inside the fire station. The event will also feature a fire and life safety show and “fun” music will be played throughout the evening.

School fundraiser today

Pine Strawberry School eighth-grade sponsor Agnus MacFarlane and her students are hosting a Fall Festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Friday, Oct. 26 to raise money for a spring class trip to Sea World.

The event is open to the community.

“There will be carnival booths, pie in the face, costume contest and a spaghetti dinner for $5,” MacFarlane said.

At the carnival, tickets are two for $1.

All proceeds will be used for the class trip.

MacFarlane is obviously using the trip to teach her students the values of a strong work ethic and achieving goals.

The Fall Festival culminates the celebration of Red Ribbon Week at the school, which is an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness program observed annually in the United States.

Activities this past week included Sports Day, Cowboy Day, Pajama Day, Red Ribbon Walk, Twins Day and culminates today with the festival.

Wine Around the Library a huge hit

The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library’s Fifth Annual Wine Around the Library benefit will go down in history books as the finest ever.

For the event, the maximum 200 tickets were sold and on Oct. 20, the standing room-only crowd packed the library and front parking lot, which had been turned into a charming outdoor gathering spot. There patrons enjoyed shaded artfully decorated tables and chairs.

Of course, the musical talents of Pine’s hometown musical duo, Trouble in Paradise (Chuck and Barbara Casey), rendered the event perfect for a relaxed afternoon enjoying hometown camaraderie and appetizers of vegetables with dips, meatballs, cheeses, olives, mixed nuts and for dessert scrumptious Sees’ chocolates.

Libations — including fine wines — were provided by Bill and Nancy Hubbs. THAT Brewery donated craft beer.

At the dusk closing time, library director Becky Waer announced the winners of the silent auction and the raffle baskets.

The day was one to remember and as one patron said, “This is the only event of its kind in Pine and Strawberry, maybe Payson too.”

All proceeds from the day will benefit the library and ensure it remains the finest in small-town Arizona.

Clowns educate and entertain

In celebration of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, Pine Strawberry Fire Department Prevention Clowns Fizzles and Flambé, with sidekick Ring Master D, showed up at the Pine school to entertain and inform students.

At P/S school the clowns stressed fire awareness throughout the program.

PSFD’s Stacy Figueroa’s warnings about fire safety are not limited to schoolchildren.

Just last week, she made a presentation to the Pine Library Friends, “HOW NOT to meet us by accident” was a fun twist on life and fire safety

French best qualified

Voters committed to research and thought-provoking study will most likely cast a vote on Nov. 6, Election Day, for Felicia French.

A Pine resident, French is running as a Democrat for a District 6 House of Representative seat against Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) and Walt Blackman.

French is running with Holbrook Councilman Bobby Tyler.

French is bolstered on the election trail by an eye-popping set of credentials including being a retired Army colonel with 32 years of service, a retired nurse and educator, a master’s degree in sustainable solutions from Arizona State University, an Afghan war veteran and a third generation Arizonan.

As equally impressive as her credentials are her positions on issues that are important to all Arizona voters including those in Pine and Strawberry.

In an interview with Roundup editor Pete Aleshire, she identified her priorities as reducing school class sizes, broadening access to health care and energy sustainability.

French told Aleshire her primary issue was properly funding public education because Arizona is ranked 49th in per-pupil funding.

French identified school needs as increased teacher pay, all-day kindergarten, trade schools and more academic options at community colleges.

She also voiced support for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and for training and hiring more health professionals.

French says she will also advocate for more jobs, especially those that provide renewable energy like solar.

Before deciding to throw our support behind French, wife Kay and I had already decided we wouldn’t vote for Thorpe under any circumstances.

Our decision was mostly because the Arizona Education Association ranked Thorpe 0 percent for his legislative votes on public education.

He’s also the legislator that came up with the hair-brained notion to prohibit college students from voting in elections and, most recently, to keep hidden public records in his personal phone, computer or personal media.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled a public employee’s private cell phone records become public if the employee uses the phone for public purposes.

Thorpe also introduced a bill to garner a nice-sized pay raise for himself (HCR 2016) and to up his per diem expenses (HB 2275) while trying to cap the salaries of state employees.

Brush pit to close

Those planning on doing some fall cleaning on land and property have only until 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18 to finish if they wish to dispose of collected brush leaves and pine needles at the Pine brush pit.

On that time and day, the pit will close for the year. No date as to when it will reopen has been announced.

The pit is located .7 of a mile east on the Control Road off S.R. 87 (Beeline) just south of Pine.

The pit is a free drop-off location for brush, leaves, pine needles and other vegetative materials. No household garbage or construction debris will be accepted.

Also the pit is intended for private citizens and not intended for commercial haulers.

Call Don Ennen at 928-951-2578 for more information.

Thought for the week

Public service allows a person to put the values taught by their parents into action.

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