Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District customers were treated to a healthy dose of good news during the governing board’s June 20 meeting.

The update was that water rates for the next fiscal year will not increase and the tax levy rate will remain the same as last year, which is 1.3981.

That rate is expected to generate $801,271.31 that will be used to pay principle and interest on a $7.414 million Compass Bank loan that was obtained eight years ago when PSWID first purchased the district.

While water rates will be unchanged, some other fees will be increased. They include impact fees that involve the location where water service is to be established, customer request meter re-reads, and meter relocation.

The board also voted to continue automatically enrolling customers in the Water Loss Protection Insurance plan with a choice to opt out. District Manager Cato Esquivel, in his monthly report, revealed that water from Milk Ranch Wells I and II passed all ADEQ testing for contaminates and both have been online 24 hours a day for about two weeks. With the Milk Ranch wells producing, the district has been able to shut down all private wells as well as others owned by the district.

The three MR wells are now producing about 250,000 gallons per day, which keeps the tanks filled to capacity throughout the day.

Having MR I online and pumping water is particularly welcome because it has been plagued by problems since it was purchased more than a decade ago.

At one time, turbidity tests on the well found levels in the 5-8 Nephelometric Turbidity Units. (NTU) range.

The World Health Organization says turbidity should be less than 5 NTUs.

Turbidity refers to the amount of suspended solids in the water.

The district is currently using a portable turbidity meter to detect particulates in the water from the MR wells.

MVF toy drive underway

Although Christmas is months away, Mountain Village Foundation members are gearing up for the holidays by hosting a toy drive through July.

The drive benefits Pine-Strawberry’s needy children by collecting unwrapped toys, games, sports equipment and stocking stuffers to be given out to the youngsters as Christmas gifts.

Most years the foundation is able to provide gifts to 75-80 children from low-income families.

Collection boxes are located at Pine Hardware, the Early Bird Cafe, Strawbeary Bear, Chalet Bar and Grill, Rim Cutters and Banner Medical Center in Payson.

Those who would rather donate monetarily can do so by mailing checks to Mountain Village Foundation, P.O. Box 715, Pine, AZ 85544.

Also, all proceeds earned from the MVF-hosted pancake breakfasts to be served up tomorrow, July 6 and Sunday, July 7, at the arts and crafts festival in Pine will benefit the toy drive.

The breakfast is $5 per plate and is served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. It includes pancakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice.

Talking on what?

This scribe’s good friend and fellow Payson Roundup columnist Dennis Pirch will be guest speaker at the Tonto Rim Sports Club’s monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 18 at the American Legion Post in Payson.

As a former National High School Coach of the Year and founder and head coach of one of the top two-prep wrestling programs in Arizona, Dennis is a frequent guest speaker, but his topics are most often about wrestling, sports, his faith and sometimes academics.

But during his sports club appearance, he will speak on “Optics,” which is also one of his fortes having been a seasoned hunter and outdoorsmen since he moved to Payson in the early 1970s.

For the Roundup, he pens “Outdoors Under the Rim,” a hunting, fishing and wildlife column that outdoor aficionados laud.

Dennis hasn’t provided any hints about his presentation, but based on the title he most likely will be covering binoculars, range finders, sights, scopes and trail cameras.

TRSC members can rest assured he harbors a wealth of knowledge on those subjects.

Book sale this weekend

Pine Library Friends is hosting its annual Independence Day book sale and raffle from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning today, July 5, and continuing Saturday and Sunday.

The sale is a great place to pick up novels, biographies, textbooks, anthologies, children’s books and more at bargain prices.

While browsing the shelves, take the opportunity to pick up a few tickets for the “Gift Card Tree Raffle” that will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 1 in the library.

Tickets are one of $2, six for $5 or 15 for $10. The tree is decorated with a myriad of gift cards donated by library patrons. All proceeds help keep the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library — the finest in small-town Arizona.

Friends are also accepting book donations, which are tax-deductible. To donate, simply drop off the books at the library.

Hurla touts show

Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild spokeswoman Catherine Hurla is certain this weekend’s 39th annual show will offer something for everyone.

“There will be juried original arts and crafts, live entertainment by Trouble in Paradise, food vendors as well as food sold by the senior center,” she says.

“The guild boutique has crafts and artwork made by our talented members.”

The show is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, July 6 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the following day, Sunday at the Pine Community Center.

“All profits are donated to other non-profits in Pine and Strawberry,” Hurla emphasizes.

Thought for the week

“Well done is better than well said.”

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