Former Payson Roundup editor Pete Aleshire has been writing about fire danger in northern Gila County for years and now a pair of state reporters, Dennis Wagner and Ren Larson, have joined in penning “Pine, Arizona: At the Base of a Canyon; Every Fire Season can be a Gamble” that was published July 22, 2019.

The two reporters regenerate what Aleshire focuses on which is a sobering look at the fire danger Rim Country residents face, especially those living in Pine Creek Canyon.

Aleshire often adds Payson into the wildfire equation as well.

For the story, which appeared in The Arizona Republic and on MSN, the two reporters interviewed Pine-Strawberry Fire Chief Gary Morris and Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction president and former fire captain Mike Brandt to add their perspective about the possibility of a wildfire engulfing the two tiny mountain hamlets and how well residents and emergency responders are prepared.

Wagner and Larson wrote that The Republic and USA Today identified hundreds of communities throughout the West that are in greater wildfire danger than Paradise, Calif. was before the 2018 Camp Fire.

Pine was one of those towns identified.

Steak Fry Sunday

Mountain Village Foundation members, among the most benevolent in the Rim Country, will host their annual Western Steak Fry from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug 11. at the Strawbeary Bear just off SR 87 and Ralls Road.

The dinner includes ribeye steak, beans, coleslaw, roll and dessert. Tickets are $20 per dinner and may be purchased from any MVF member, at the “Bear” restaurant or by calling 928-951-1061. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

In addition to the dinner, the event will feature a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and fun raffle baskets.

Nice work, Paige!

Congratulations to Pine Strawberry seventh-grader Paige Sadler for her tremendous showing in the National Archery in Schools (NASP) National Finals. For complete details, see page 14 of the Aug. 2 edition of the Payson Roundup.

Time for toddlers

The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library will host “Toddler Time” for children 18 months to 3 years of age beginning Wednesday, Aug. 21. The sessions will be held 11-11:30 a.m. each Wednesday.

For more information, call 928-476-3678.

DM calls for upgrades

Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Manager Cato Esquivel has identified an ambitious list of infrastructure improvements he’d like to be accomplished with the about $3 million remaining the district’s Water Improvement Facilities Association (WIFA) grant.

He says the upgrades would enable PSWID to have more efficient water supply loops around Pine-Strawberry to better serve customers.

Among the improvements would be a six-inch line adjacent to Beeline Highway, another near Old County Road, and one from Juniper through Ralls property to Fossil Creek Road. He estimates the cost to be about $2 million.

Census workers needed

The U.S. Census is one of the most important head counts done in the United States. The results determine how U.S. House of Representatives congressional seats are apportioned, how federal and state tax dollars are doled out, where businesses ship products and where new stores are built.

To do that the counts need to be accurate.

However, the decision to restore a citizenship question to the 2020 census has created concerns about the upcoming accuracy since some people living in the U.S., usually immigrants and minority groups, might choose not to answer questions from census takers.

Apparently the Trump administration has dropped efforts to add the citizenship question, but much can change from now until the census begins.

What is known is that in Pine-Strawberry there is a desperate need for census takers. Those chosen will be paid $14.50 per hour and 58 cents per mile. Hours are flexible and there is paid training. To apply, call 1-855-JOB-2020 or apply online at

Job vacancy

The Pine-Strawberry Thrift Shop has an employment opening for a yard supervisor.

Applicants should have retail experience, leadership and customer service skills, a valid driver’s license with a clean record and be able to lift 50 pounds.

Apply at the thrift store at 3916 N. Highway 87. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

Celebration of life

A celebration of longtime Pine resident Bob Barr’s life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 901 S. Westerly Road.

Barr, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., died June 23 in Pine. He was a U.S. Army veteran and a retired engineer for the Honeywell Corp. Barr served for many years on the Portals III Homeowners Association.

SCAF art

The Senior Citizens Affair Council (SCAF) is hosting an “Arts Party” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 20 in the senior dining hall. The subject will be “oil pastel portraits.” Students can bring their own printer copy of a loved one or a cute animal printer copy will be provided to create a portrait.

All supplies will be provided free to SCAF members.

Labor Day sale

Pine Library Friends members are gearing up for their final book sale of the year to be held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30, Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday Sept. 1.

The book sale will include a “Fill a Bag” option. Customers can purchase a small bag for $3 or a large one for $5 and fill it with their choice of books. No outside bags will be allowed.

Also at the sale patrons can purchase raffle tickets for a “gift card tree” Tickets are one for $2, six for $5 and 15 for $10.

The tree is decorated with a myriad of gift cards from various stores.

Most importantly, all proceeds help the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library remain the finest in small-town Arizona.

Thought for the week

“I don’t call it getting old. I call it outliving the warranty.”

Courtesy of Ira Gibel

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

The largest wildfire risk has been created by the environmental wackos who fight the removal of biomass from our forests. The Rodeo Chedisky Fire clearly demonstrated the risks directly connected to that fact. The fire stopped at the reservation boundary as they keep their part of the forest cleared of the danger while the environmental radicals prevent such activity off the reservation.

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