cleaning cemetery

Nina Ray and grandchildren Lily and Amelia Woolwine helped revamp a shabby Strawberry Pioneer Cemetery and then hosted a lemonade stand to raise money for charity.

“Leave no good deed undone” might be Lily and Amelia Woolwine’s game plan for life.

If so, they jump-started their strategy perfectly during a weekend visit with their grandparents Ron and Nina Ray of Strawberry.

When in Strawberry, the sisters enjoy visiting the old schoolhouse and the historic pioneer cemetery directly behind the school.

On the girls’ last visit, however, the astute pair noticed the cemetery was in desperate need of some TLC.

That set off a spark in Nina who called cemetery curator-of-sorts Margaret Parker to get permission for the girls to spruce up the area.

The girls, Nina says, went at it with unbridled vigor, “After raking and bagging seven large trash bags and placing artificial flowers at each site, the girls were thrilled with the job they did.”

Next up, the sisters built a lemonade stand next to the school where visitors could quench their thirst on the warm, dry day.

The duo later mulled over what to do with their profits and decided to donate some to charity.

Most surprising about the day, however, the girls met a visitor who identified himself to be a descendant of one of the pioneers buried in the cemetery.

“What a coincidence,” Nina says.

Today, there are those in Pine and Strawberry scratching their collective noggins trying to understand why two young girls would want to spend a day sprucing up a century-old cemetery when most their age are sprawled on the family couch playing video games or texting friends.

Grandmother Nina knows her granddaughters’ motivation, “It’s their way of giving back to a place they love called Strawberry.”

Think again?

The Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District governing board could be having second thoughts about approving a request from General Manager Cato Esquivel to purchase and install generators without going through a competitive bidding process. The board voted 4-2 at its Aug. 15 meeting to approve a purchase order of $83,582 to buy and install six stand-by generators for six well tanks.

Alan Kleinman moved to approve the request and David Wilson seconded.

Board members Sharon Hillman and Larry Bagshaw argued the purchases should go out for bid because of previous problems (relating to arrest and conviction of former PSWID treasurer Mike Greer).

Following the meeting, at least one PSWID customer, Pam Mason, voiced her displeasure of buying the generators without the bidding process.

Rumors are the board might reconvene to study the matter in greater depth.

At press time, no notice of such a meeting has been made public.

Guest excites friends

A standing room only crowd — a record number 60-plus — turned out for the Pine Library Friends August meeting. Most were there to hear Friends’ guest speaker Louie Shemetaway who spoke on life on the Zuni-Navajo reservations and on living in a foster home while attending school in Utah.

Library Friends member Sue Hedman called the presentation, “interesting and humorous.”

Also on Friends’ agenda, the annual Labor Day Book Sale begins today Friday, Aug. 30 and continues the following Saturday and Sunday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The book sale is a great place to find reading material at bargain prices. It also helps generate much-needed revenue to support the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library.

The last sale, during the July 4 holidays, earned $912.45 and $106.55 in the donation jar.

‘Dumbo’ flies at library

Movie Madness returns to the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 7 with the showing of “Dumbo.” The movie is rated PG and is 90 minutes in length.

Refreshments will be provided and space is limited to 12.

More bears

After having no bear sightings during the past month, homeowners in Pine Creek Canyon are once again seeing the “Urus Americanus” usually going through garbage cans searching for food scraps. The last sighting occurred just before 9 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25 near Juniper Loop and Milk Ranch in Portals III. The bear was recorded on a resident’s home security camera.

One resident calls the animal “beautiful.”

Festival begins tomorrow

The Pine Strawberry Arts and Craft Guild’s annual Labor Day Festival is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday at the Pine Community Center.

Traditionally, about 50 booths are set up on the center grounds and another 27 or so are inside of the cultural hall.

To enter the festival, vendors and boutique exhibitors must submit photos of their wares before they are allowed to participate. Having juried exhibits means customers can shop a prized selection of products.

Admission is free to the public.

Although the festival begins each day at 8 a.m. the highly popular pancake breakfasts tip off at 7 a.m. with long lines waiting for a meal of pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee for only $5 per plate.

Most importantly, the sponsoring Mountain Village Foundation donates the profits to worthy causes in Pine-Strawberry.

Last year, the MVF was able to purchase Christmas gifts for more than 70 needy children.

Thought for the week

“The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.” — Thomas R. Donahue

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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