Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's all about beer at First Friday Oktober Brewfest

It's First Friday and the 3rd Annual Oktober Brewfest is this Friday from 5-8 p.m.

Rim Country Homebrewers has nine brewers offering samples of their brews. Sample them all and then vote for your favorite

The Payson Main Street Guild has partnered with the Wagon Wheel Territory for this annual event

Pick up your wrist band at any of the following locations:

Down The Street Art Gallery, brewers John Gould and Cullen Bennet
Humane Society Thrift Store, brewer Debbie Dahn
Lock and Load, brewer Paul Serfling
MoJoe's Cafe, brewer Greg Zimmerman
ReRuns Boutique, brewer James Gentry
Todd's Books, brewer Scott Jacobson
Tonto Silk Screen, brewer Tom and Cheryl Piazza

In addition, Bootleg Alley Antiques & Art Celebrates Fall
Oktoberfest during First Friday.

For those over 21, Rim Country Brewers will be providing a free sample of craft beer at Bootleg Alley Antiques & Art.

In addition, Gary and Diane Bedsworth will be grilling brats. Five dollars buys a brat from Charlie's Meats, chips, and a soda. All net proceeds go to the Humane Society of Central Arizona. Donations to the Humane Society can also be made at this event.

Scoops will be selling ice cream and coffee and the Soroptimists have Sees Chocolates for purchase. Come join the celebration of Fall with the music of Sounds Unlimited (Cindy and Lupe).

Voter registration will be available as well on Bootleg Alley's porch from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 1. Brewers will return on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. to continue the Oktoberfest competition.

Roundabout closure moves to Airline Boulevard

PRESCOTT – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will close Airline Boulevard at the intersection of Arizona State Route 87 in Payson from 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30 until noon on Friday, October 15. The closure will provide a safe work zone for crews constructing the new roundabout.

In addition to the closure at Airline Boulevard, a left turn restriction will be in place for northbound State Route 87 traffic to access Airport Road between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Traffic from Airport Road will not be able to turn left to access northbound State Route 87 and the speed limit has been reduced to 25 miles per hour in the work zone.

During the Airline Boulevard closure, motorists can access residential and business properties via a clearly marked detour on the north and south boundaries of the project work zone. The detour will direct drivers from Glade Lane and Rancho Road for access to Airline Boulevard.

For more information regarding this project or to receive weekly construction e-updates, call the project hotline at 1-877-521-1118 or e-mail

As always, drivers are reminded to proceed through the work zone with caution, slow down, and be alert for construction equipment and personnel.

ADOT works to inform the public about planned highway restrictions, but there is a possibility that unscheduled closures or restrictions may occur. Weather can also affect a project schedule. To stay up-to-date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at or call 5-1-1.

Help needed to solve Clints Well elk poachings

Information needed to solve two elk poachings in northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is seeking the public’s assistance in finding the individual or individuals responsible for illegally killing two bull elk in separate incidents near Clints Well (37 miles north of Payson) in September.

The first poaching occurred sometime over the Labor Day weekend, just before the legal archery season. The bull elk was killed near the junction of Forest Roads 96 and 321, about eight miles east of Clints Well, in Game Management Unit 5A on the Coconino National Forest. After the animal was killed, only the head and a small portion of meat were removed. The rest of the animal was left to waste.

The second poaching occurred around Sept. 18 or 19. The bull elk was shot with a rifle off Arizona Highway 87, about four miles north of Clints Well. The subjects in this case removed the head and some major portions of meat, including the shoulders and hind quarters. The rest of the animal was left to waste. The only hunting season open at the time of the poaching was archery elk.

“We’re asking the public for any information they might have in helping us solve either of these cases,” says Wildlife Manager Garrett Fabian. “Someone may have been scouting in the area and seen or heard something, but may be apprehensive to come forward. We want to encourage them to contact the Operation Game Thief Hotline and help us catch the poachers.”

Anyone with information about either of these incidents can call the department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll free at (800) 352-0700 or use the online form at Callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500 in each case for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s). All calls may remain confidential upon request.

To learn more about Operation Game Thief, visit

Maverick cow having its way with Valley folks

Courtesy photo
Corrientes were brought to the Americas in the 14th Century by the Spanish. Unlike your average cow, they are physical, agile, resourceful and ideally suited to surviving under harsh desert conditions. Could this be the cow that finally wins a rodeo?

I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with cows.

My grandfather had a small dairy and dairy farm back in Swartz Creek, Mich., so I sort of grew up hanging out with cows. My brother and I would spend weekends on the farm and occasionally weeks at a time – especially in the summer.

Because my grandfather’s were dairy cows, they tended to hang around longer than the ones that become burgers, so we were able to build some relatively long term relationships.

Besides an old mutt named Petey, originator of the infamous Petey Kiss, the cows were a primary source of entertainment. My grandfather had a small room in his barn where he always kept a calf or two and we’d hang out in there and treat them just like big kitties.

He also usually kept one cow around that we could ride – bareback of course. While it wasn’t a dashing steed, it enhanced playing cowboys and Indians immeasurably.

Frequently we’d also play in the hayloft, climbing the bales to the ceiling and jumping off into a soft pile of hay on the floor. Once when we were playing up there, I fell through one of the holes my grandfather used to feed the cows and ended up on my back staring face to face with a startled, hungry and disappointed cow. Other than a bump on the head, I was none the worse for wear.

When I moved to Arizona I taught for a couple of years at a private school on a working cattle ranch. More close encounters of the cow kind, including some amateur rodeos held so the students, many of them from ranches in Texas, could hone their skills.

In fact, it was there that I acquired the habit of rooting for the cows at rodeos. But then I’ve always rooted for the underdog. It’s one of the traits that makes a good journalist – but it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years as well.

Then came 20-some years in the Valley, and the closest I got to cows was burgers. But that all changed when I moved to the Rim Country.

That’s where I learned that there are two places in the world where cows are considered sacred – India and Arizona.

I learned it because cows are a common occurrence in Mesa del Caballo where they walk side-by-side down the streets, pausing to eat whatever they want out of our yards. I remember a little girl who wouldn’t get off the school bus one day because a cow was blocking the front door to her house and she was freaked.

In India, cows are often part of the family, with names and personalities. It’s kind of like that in Mesa del because we pretty much share our lives with them.

What I learned living in Mesa del about Arizona law is that it’s your job to fence cows out, not the owner’s job to fence them in. If they can find a way onto your property and into your life, they have every legal right to do so.

And if you try to stop them by, say, capturing or otherwise harming them, you are in direct violation of Arizona’s Open Range Law.

Which finally brings me to the point of all this. If you have been following the local news in the Valley, you know about the “fugitive Ahwatukee cow” – a 1,000-pound heifer that broke down a ranch fence a couple months ago and has been roaming communities in the South Valley ever since.

The cow is apparently a Corriente, a particularly agile, athletic and resourceful breed often employed in roping competitions. Corrientes were brought to America in the 1400s by the Spanish and are particularly well adapted to surviving in the desert.

So far nobody has been able to catch the cow, including a professional cowboy hired by the rancher. And while many Ahwatukee residents see the humor in the situation, a good many don’t and want her out of their lives.

How this will all play out is anybody’s guess. Of course, we humans can win if we want. We have all guns, tanks, bazookas, hand grenades and other assorted weaponry at our disposal, and we badly outnumber this solitary cow. But then there’s that pesky Open Range Law.

So once again, I find myself rooting for the cow. Sure it has the law on its side, but you still have to admire how it has managed to hold entire communities made up of thousands of flatlanders at bay.

And I have to wonder what would happen if it met up with a boy Corriente and they produced a super cow, a Barry Bonds of cows, that could truly and fairly compete against rodeo cowboys.

So it seems especially appropriate as another summer of rodeos winds down to repeat once again that mantra that so ticks off rodeo fans and your local chamber of commerce whose primary concern is how many tourist dollars we can wring out of rodeo weekends:

Go cows go!

Furniture * Art * Bicycles * Electronics * More

7 a.m. to ??
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2

8025 Vista del Norte
Mesa del Caballo

(Take 87 north to Houston Mesa Road.  Go east on Houston Mesa Road 1.8 miles to Mesa del Caballo.  Take Caballero to Vista del Norte.  Turn left on Vista del Norte.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ASU issues press release on campus in Payson

(Editor's note: We are posting the following press release from ASU as it was issued and without editorial comment at this time.)

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Town of Payson and Arizona State University have concluded an initial memorandum of understanding (MOU) to examine and analyze all the elements needed to establish an ASU higher education program in Payson.

The effort is in support of the Arizona Board of Regent’s goal to provide a wide range of educational opportunities in Arizona through differentiated learning environments, geographical choices in where to attend college and different cost structures. For its part, Payson seeks to create a more vibrant and diverse economic base on which to build its future prosperity. Payson has committed to providing the campus facilities needed for ASU to create high quality academic programs that would be supported by a mix of tuition and new, but to-be identified, state funding.

“We look forward to working with the city in this planning effort,” said Rich Stanley, ASU senior vice president and university planner. “The city has shown leadership and vision in undertaking this initiative.”

Payson has been working independently for four years on the concepts for the logistical, financial, and architectural design of a mixed use project that would have at its heart a high-quality higher education institution. ASU is now joining that team to help analyze the feasibility and means by which this can be accomplished.

In addition, the city seeks to advance its sustainability efforts by building the first LEED Platinum / BREEAM campus. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a building certification program for improved environmental design managed by the U.S. Green Building Council. BREEAM, or the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, aims to minimize environmental impact by ensuring sustainability best practices are in place while also lowering organizations' costs through energy efficiency.

“Raising $500 million dollars is a tough task in today’s economic climate. The vision, foresight and courage of President Crow and the Board of Regents inspired Payson’s educational dream team to go the extra mile to make this dream come true,” said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans. “From cottage dorms to a wireless communitywide learning experience, this campus holds the potential to truly be cutting-edge. We believe Payson offers an ideal living and learning environment that will attract students and faculty from a wide area.”

The creation of a new college in a new setting is a complex task and will require the additional expenditure of significant time and resources for planning and construction. The city and the university have committed to work diligently and deliberately to insure that the campus planning process moves forward on a sound foundation.

It is anticipated that the ASU planning team and the Payson charrette group will form a single committee in the next few weeks with several specialized subcommittees. The subcommittees will tackle the design implications for what will emerge as ASU’s teaching model and curriculum for the campus programs, the general layout of the college and its associated facilities, the infrastructure development requirements on and off site, the fiscal and physical challenges for the various proposed components and the feasibility modeling that will be required to produce the world class learning center which was envisioned at the start of discussions over two years ago.

Signing of this MOU is a major step forward in providing world class education at an affordable price

Arizona algae companies on biofuels cutting edge

Phoenix-based Heliae Development is among a growing number of firms looking toward the day when algae can be produced on a scale that will compete with petroleum. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Rebecca L. McClay)

Right: Ben Cloud, CEO of Chandler-based Phyco Biosciences, hopes Arizona increases support for those seeking to ramp up production of algae as biofuel. Partiicpating in a meeting on biofuels, Cloud said Arizona’s sunshine and heat are ideal for growing algae cells. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Rebecca L. McClay)

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – Arizona could become a leader in the algae biofuel industry, if companies can mass produce the tiny plant for an affordable petroleum substitute, researchers said Tuesday.

And Arizona algae-technology companies like Phyco Biosciences in Chandler and Heliae Development in Phoenix hope they will soon have that breakthrough.

“We really do want algae to succeed, but there are challenges,” said Mark Bunger of Lux Research, a speaker Tuesday at the Fourth Annual Algae Biomass Summit.

“It’s still too expensive and there’s too little produced,” he said. “Frankly, until you have thousands of square miles of algae; it’s a nice science project, but it’s not going to replace petroleum.”

The Algal Biomass Organization chose Arizona for this year’s summit because the state, with a biofuels initiative at Arizona State University, is a “hotbed for research on algae,” said organization spokesman Mark Prentice.

More than 600 people from 27 countries – researchers, developers and producers – attended the three-day conference that started Tuesday.

“This is just the beginning for algae in Arizona,” Prentice said. “There are a number of bioscience companies here and you have the premium intellectual capital in this state.”

Scientists have already proven they can turn algae into a fuel that can be used in lieu of petroleum. The challenge, once they have found a type of algae that yields a high percentage of oil, is producing thousands of acres of it.

Algae company executives like Phyco CEO Ben Cloud see hope in state support, including the $2 million in federal stimulus money that Gov. Jan Brewer said Tuesday would go toward a research center for algae fuel. The center will be called the Arizona Center for Algae Technologies and Innovations.

Cloud also touted Arizona’s relentless sunshine and warm climate as a long-term, free energy source for growing algae cells.

“Arizona is one of the most ideal places in the world to produce [algae] biomass,” Cloud said. “We predict in about 10 years, we’ll see $1 billion in sales. It takes a period of time, but I’m very confident.”

Cloud said Phyco, which launched a pilot facility in Casa Grande in 2006, expects to turn a profit for the first time this year as it moves toward commercial production. The company was funded through $3.5 million from investors and has two operations in China.

The company expects to start with products like algae supplements, which Cloud said should yield the greatest initial profit, and animal feed, which he expects will be in highest demand.

But the product that companies like Phyco are banking on is a petroleum substitute, a product that is currently not profitable, he said.

“This is an emerging market,” Cloud said. “Our challenge is to create the products.”

Heliae, which is also producing algae food and fertilizer, is also working toward a profitable aviation fuel product, according to company literature. It recently opened a research and development facility in Gilbert.

Heliae co-founder Frank Mars was scheduled to speak at the conference Wednesday on the company’s experience as a new player in the market.

Algae as fuel:
– An algae cell can have oil content of 50 to 60 percent, meaning one pound of dried algae could yield a half pound of oil.
– The oil extracted from algae is very similar to crude oil.
– Algae may be able to produce 100 times more oil per acre than soybeans, which are now the leading source of biodiesel fuel.

Sources: Arizona State University Laboratory for Algae Research, U.S. Department of Energy

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fatalities on Arizona roadways lowest in 16 years

PHOENIX—The number of traffic deaths on Arizona’s roads is at a 16-year low, a figure that highlights the success of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and other public safety agencies in their work to create safer roadways and to educate motorists about safe driving habits. The 16-year low also represents a challenge to continue reducing traffic deaths on roads and highways.

In data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Arizona had 807 traffic fatalities in 2009 — the lowest number since 1993. In 2008, 938 people lost their lives in crashes around the state. Viewed in relation to traffic volume, there were 1.29 fatalities per million miles traveled in 2009, down from 1.52 fatalities per million miles in 2008.

Over the past two years, Arizona has seen a 14 percent decrease in roadway fatalities.

Although there is no single contributing factor to the significant decrease in traffic fatalities around the state, ADOT credits a focus on “The Four Es” of roadway safety: engineering, enforcement, emergency response and education to reduce the number of traffic deaths.

“ADOT’s number one priority is to design, build and maintain safe highways for those who rely on them every day,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “There are a variety of modern improvements that we have already made to our state highway system and continue to implement. This includes enhancements to the roadway and the addition of technology along our freeways. All of these innovations work together with law enforcement officers and others in the safety sector to create a safer driving experience.”

Shoulder rumble strips are one innovation ADOT has installed throughout the entire state highway system. Rumble strips are the roadway-edge warning grooves cut into the pavement to alert drivers when they have drifted onto the shoulder. They are proven to reduce crashes by 33 percent.

Other roadway safety improvements include:
> Raised and reflective pavement markers
> Larger traffic signals on our state highways
> Guardrail end caps that act as crash cushions
> Wider stripes on Arizona’s entire highway system: ADOT uses 6-inch wide stripes; the national standard calls for 4-inch wide stripes
> Cable barrier has been installed in the urban areas since 2000
> Brighter freeway signs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data showing that highway deaths fell to 33,808 nationally during 2009, the lowest number since 1950. This record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even as the estimated vehicle miles traveled in 2009 slightly increased over 2008 levels. This means fewer deaths occurred, despite more driving.

ADOT records similar data each year through its Crash Facts reports. The reports record the total number of fatalities on both local streets and state highways and the causes of those fatal crashes, along with tracking other crash statistics. ADOT works with this information to develop key strategies in its public safety outreach to help lower the number of fatal crashes around the state. The past decade of Crash Facts reports is available at

ADOT also takes aggressive steps to prevent highway deaths through partnerships with law enforcement and the work of its Enforcement and Compliance Division, which focuses on established enforcement programs such as commercial vehicle safety, DUI prevention, and the use of tools like ignition interlock devices. These are all key components of ADOT’s public safety mission.

Through the Strategic Highway Safety Plan, ADOT partners with other agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, and various traffic court systems throughout the state to strive towards zero traffic deaths. More information on Arizona’s public safety education efforts can be found at

Body builder Jeff Vance, Kentucky native, dies

Jeff D. Vance

Jeff D. Vance passed away Sept. 12, 2010 in Payson, Ariz. Jeff was born in Lexington, Ky. but lived in Arizona most of his life.
He was a devoted body builder, husband and father. Jeff leaves a wife, Mave, two daughters, Denise Lewandowski, Marilyn Vance and son, Jeffery Vance. Jeff also leaves many friends. He is now gone to be with his Lord. We all miss him so much.
Services were held at the Church of Christ in Payson on Sept. 14.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Milk Ranch Well not needed for projected demand

(The following is provided on behalf of Water for Pine Strawberry by an anonymous individual whose name cannot be associated with the Gazette or the Roundup won't print his or her letters.)

Several times during the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) meetings, Mr. Gary Lovetro has stated that both the Strawberry Hollow and Milk Ranch wells are needed to get us through the next couple of years. I took a look at the numbers that are available and below is an outline of a rough estimate of the kind of capacity needed to cover the summer months and a look at the capacity that is available. The detailed spreadsheet can be found here:

The conclusion is that the addition of the Strawberry Hollow well is enough to cover the communities water needs for a couple of years. The addition of an agreement with Portals IV for water sharing should cement that coverage.

The board is waiting to do a master plan for the water system until after they have spent all the money. Part of their rationale is that there is no time to lose in adding the Milk Ranch well capacity. This shows that they have time to prepare a master plan for the system so that the money is spent to the best value for the community.

To determine what capacity there needs to be in the system, I looked at the usage during the summer months for 2005, 2006, and 2007. From that, June 2006 was the highest usage month at 233.5 gpm. Adjusting that for an estimated water loss rate of 15% and an additional 10% for error margin, the capacity needed to meet a peak month would be 291.9 gpm.

Another factor that needs to be accounted for is the growth in usage by Pine residents in response to the lifting of usage restrictions. In that June 2006 month, the average user in Pine used 3,011 gallons and the average user in Strawberry used 3,762 gallons.

Since Strawberry had no restrictions at that time, the assumption is being made that over time the usage by Pine residents will rise to match the usage by Strawberry residents. That assumption results in the need for an additional 40.5 gpm of additional capacity.

So the capacity required to meet a worst-case summer month would be 332.4 gpm.

I attended the RFP meeting for the operations management companies and a handout was provided that listed the capacity of the PSWID owned and Water Sharing Agreement (WSA) wells. Adding the Strawberry Hollow well to that list produced the following capacity numbers:
PWSID Owned Capacity: 255.5 gpm (55.7%)
WSA Capacity: 203 gpm (44.3%)
Total Capacity: 458.5 gpm

These capacity numbers may not be sustainable under constant pumping, so allowing time for maintenance and “resting” wells, the assumption is being made that, on average, only 75% of that capacity is available. That brings the system capacity down to 343.9 gpm, which is above the capacity needed. Without the Strawberry Hollow well, the system capacity is 323.6 gpm.

Adding a water sharing agreement with Portals IV, which based on discussions looks like a source for at least 20-30 gpm, would probably get us a couple years down the road before significant additional water resources would need to be added. This would allow the board time to make a plan before spending large sums of money.

In the long run that plan needs to address several things:

What is the expected growth going to be in the area? This will allow for the projection of water demand into the future, and from that the capacity needed in the system.

Increasing the percentage of the capacity that is PSWID owned. Probably want to get to 80% or more and have the WSAs fill the role of handling peak/non-typical demand.

Removing the need to transfer water from one community to the other. One of the positive aspects of the addition of the Strawberry Hollow well is that its output can replace the water being transferred from Strawberry to Pine. This removes the expense of pumping the water to Pine and has a net affect of making more water available to both communities. On the other hand, with the Milk Ranch well it will be expensive to pump the water up the hill to Strawberry, so for the most part the Milk Ranch well will have no benefit to Strawberry.

This update is from the group Water For Pine Strawberry.  Updates on earlier meetings are available on our website: .

Water For Pine Strawberry is a group of residents who are concerned about the communities water issues and how they can best be resolved. Visit our web site,, for more information. The website for PSWID is .

Clarifications can be submitted by anyone who is explicitly named, implicitly identifiable, or a board member to items in this email. Clarifications will be posted on our website. We reserve the right to post a response. Clarifications must deal with the topics discussed in the update that relate to the individual or the board. They must be in family friendly language and be non-abusive. When the clarification is accepted, it will be posted to the website and notice of that posting will be added to the next update.

GCC offers scholarship, real estate instruction


Wednesday 7 pm October 6th Room 209
Learn about scholarship and grant opportunities

YES – there is money available for you to complete your education –  but you have to apply for it and we can help you learn how to do that!

Workshop Objectives:
· Where to begin and how
· Free Application for Federal Student Aid - FAFSA application procedures –PELL Grants
· Find available scholarships, grants, and loan
· How to apply
· “Pick –Me” essay tips – the key to a competitive application

Facilitator – Joseph Shannon, Ph.D
Questions -

GCC is also offering the following Real Estate license renewal courses in October:

BROKER AUDIT & COMMISSION RULES Sat. 10/9 - 9 am - 12 noon
FAIR HOUSING Sat. 10/9 - 1 pm - 4 pm

BASIC EXCHANGE-TAX Sat. 10/16 - 9 am - 12 noon
ADVANCED EXCHANGE-TAX Sat. 10/16 - 1 pm - 4 pm

AGENCY Sat. 10/23 - 9 am - 12 noon
DISCLOSURE Sat. 10/23 - 1 pm - 4 pm

CONTRACT LAW Sat. 10/30- 9 am - 12 noon
BENEFICIARY DEEDS Sat. 10/30 - 1 pm - 4 pm

Cost is $20 per class in advance, or $25 per class on the day of instruction.

Theses courses satisfy the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s requirements for continuing education hours for all sale and broker licenses.

Star, writer, director Affleck's big gamble pays off

The Town

By Andy McKinney
Gazette/Connection Film Critic

Now Ben Affleck has some bragging rights in his career that in some small way meet the expectations generated when he and his lifelong pal Matt Damon received Oscars as very young Hollywood successes. This is one of a very small handful of really good movies that we have been given this year. It is a gritty heist movie set in Boston and will immediately spur comparisons to “The Departed,” the enormously successful and brilliant Martin Scorsese film that stared Matt Damon.

“The Town” doesn’t quite rise to the peak ascended by “The Departed,” but it is still a heck of a good movie. 

Affleck stars in this film and also wrote and directed it. This is a bold and dangerous trifecta for a movie guy to indulge in. If the film is less than perfect, he has no one to blame but himself. It puts Affleck all in, as the gamblers say. And Affleck wins big.

The movie has two stories that are shuffled together. In story one, Affleck leads a gang of bank and armored car robbers in Boston. They are very successful and very disciplined, which is why they are successful. Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) is picture perfect as Affleck’s friend and dangerously fey second in command. We have to penetrate the world of criminal class Irish in Boston to understand the motives and aspirations of the robbers. Renner’s character is a criminal reflection of the ancient, doomed heroes of Irish lore. He can think of nothing better to do than push his luck until it runs out.

In story two, Affleck and bank manager Rebecca Hall become involved when Affleck enters her life to spy on her. She managed a bank the gang robbed and Affleck hopes to thwart an ongoing FBI investigation. Their love affair is very carefully and believably crafted. With such a preposterous premise, this is not easy. Hall is outstanding in a very complex and subtle performance.

In the film, Affleck is a robber, deceiver and a vengeful murderer, and still we root for him because he shows depth to his personality that we can identify with and support. We hope that, against the odds, he will find a way to peace and happiness through the blood, lies and chaos of his life.

It is a very good movie.

Four stars for this heist flick. It is rated “R” for sex, language and adult themes. We get our money’s worth with a film that runs just over two hours. With a budget of $37 million and an opening weekend of $24 million, Affleck has justified the producers’ faith in his skills.

Coming soon are the well received teen flick “Easy A” and the long anticipated Zombie action movie, “Resident Evil: Afterlife.”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Curmudgeon Man weighs in on college, water wars

Curmudgeon Man stopped by recently to share some of his latest observations. For a guy who lives in a cave and wears tights and a cape, he seems to get out enough to keep up with current events pretty well. Here are some of his thoughts:

The controversy over whether a by-pass around Payson is needed is faulty at best. Those who are terrified that Payson would become a ghost town are apparently under the impression that Payson lives off tourists on a daily basis. Not so.

Sure, a few stores benefit from increased income on holiday weekends, but many more suffer from dense traffic, making it impossible to navigate to them. At best, the increased financial flow is a windfall and not a dependable regular income. It might be missed by some, but it certainly wouldn’t kill the whole town. People who need gas and groceries will still come to Payson to get them.

Here’s an additional thought, he adds: What about the miles and miles of traffic coming through town on the return run? Do they spend a great amount of money on their way home?

Dense traffic is far more likely to choke a town to death than losing some windfall dollars would.

“Cur” continues:
In spite of numerous naysayers, building a small college in Payson is a splendid idea. The benefits to the town outweigh the possible problems by a mile or two. Talk about a huge windfall economically - this could easily become the Golden Goose.

Money isn’t the only issue, however. Local students would be more likely to go on to college since the cost would be greatly reduced. Additional cultural and sporting events, available to the town would be very popular. Access to enhanced facilities for research on many topics would be welcomed. Etc. Etc.

As mentioned, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. There are people who will never be convinced, however.

“Cur” allows that the on-going soap opera starring Star Valley and Payson in an eternal tug over water rights would be comical if it didn’t have rather serious consequences at stake. All the thinking at present seems to be geared to satisfying short term concerns and is strongly influenced by long held animosities. Star Valley, for better or worse, would appear to benefit far more from a reasonable agreement insuring its water future than winning a turf war would bring.

As far as the Great Radar Traffic Improvement Plan in Star Valley, “Cur” wonders how that is working for them. Are there available statistics showing a noticeable decrease in traffic violations or accidents? One un-named local business owner has been overheard doubting its effectiveness. Brings in a ton of revenue, though, doesn’t it? One wonders how the town would survive off this life support.

I asked Curmudgeon Man if he had any thoughts on the way the Forest Service is now managing our forests. I was amazed that, for the most part, he had high praise for their approach and hard work. The future looks very encouraging for greatly reducing the threat of devastating fires, and a new fuel source will apparently result from tree and brush thinning.

It’s no secret that a small contingent of “Old Timers” still nurture old grievances against the Forset Service and will never approve of their modern work. The odds are that a time machine will not be built to take them back to the old days, though. It’s a shame in a way, because the old days certainly provided a wonderful life for some ranchers and cowboys.

There are abundant photographs, though, of folks living in dug out caves or slapped together wood structures trying to survive on meager crops or slender wages back in those same times. They weren’t and still aren’t included in the life of what some laud as the “Good Old Days.”

On a somewhat similar subject, “Cur” Man wonders why the town of Payson doesn’t combine the rodeo with the state fair somehow and celebrate an entire week of “Doin's,” be they August or whenever. Also combining with the spring rodeo would make sense economically and attendance wise. He admits, however, that the arrangements are far too complicated for him to understand.

I asked this Masked Crusader if he had any advice for the general population. His curious reply was, ”By all means support your government, but keep your powder dry.“

I couldn’t pry a further explanation from him, and he said he had to go.

Somewhere in the night sky a light was shining, illuminating the Cur Signal. It was time for him to save some unfortunate individual from a terrible fate. Later, I could have sworn I saw him fooling with the connections to a speed trap - oh, a speed timer I mean, of course.

Rim Country Heuristician thinks inside the box

Photo by Mitzi Brabb
Jack D puts heart into his "birthday boxes."
By Mitzi Brabb
Gazette/Connection Correspondent

“If you want to make a difference, be the difference,” says Payson problem solver, Jack Dowlearn.

Those who know "Jack D" know him by his unofficial title of a Heuristician. In other words, he’s a problem solver. That’s exactly what is printed on his business card, even though he has been retired for five years as an engineering consultant for various firms that needed technical problem solving.

Jack D traveled throughout the country. When a company had a problem, he would fly in and solve their dilemma. Now he keeps his problem solving to a more intimate level -- simply anyone who is facing a "personal" predicament.

He related a story about a woman who was passing through Payson on a camping excursion. When she got settled into her campsite she discovered that there was a problem with a hose on her RV. Not only was she stuck in a foreign environment, but she was at a loss as to what she should do.

Ironically the “heuristician’s” business card blew into her campsite and she braved a call to a friendly stranger. Jack D told her just what she needed, as well as where and how to get it. Problem solved!

Although Jack D works part-time at Ace hardware, he enjoys his retired days on Easy Street and still tinkers with a numerous projects, including building motorcycles. Although he has only kept four of them himself, he has built 16 motorcycles over the past several years.

While still taking the time to help others with their problems, he has devoted much of his time earning smiles through another hobby. He makes hand-crafted wooden boxes that he likes to call “who-dit-is,” but to others they are simply known as birthday boxes.

“I got to piddling around with saws and drill presses one day and decided it was what I wanted to do,” said Jack D, who discovered a new way of thinking outside the box.

For nearly five years Jack D has been creating these beautiful, seamless boxes out of a single piece of wood. They are generally made from red-heart cedar or teak wood and run the dimensions of three inches tall and wide by six inches long.

Although one box may take eight to 10 hours to craft, Jack D puts his whole heart into his creations. He even made sure every lady he knew in town had one last Christmas. To date he has built 221 boxes.

“They make a real nice gift box for trinkets and jewelry,” he claims.

If he gives them away for Christmas, then why are they known as "Birthday Boxes"? It’s merely the aftermath of one of his other unique ideas. Jack D discovers the birth year of the person he plans to make a box for and then finds a coin, usually a solid Eisenhower dollar coin, and permanently secures it at the inside bottom of the box with a laminate coat, similar to a bar counter.

Jack D creates these boxes out of good-natured fun, but he also figures he’s helping someone with a problem by putting a smile on his or her face. He says he implements his base philosophy in life by passing on gifts from the heart and encourages others to do the same.

“If you want to make a difference then just pass it on," he says with a wink. "You’d be surprised what a smile can do.”

Fiction writing workshop features Valley author

The Rim Country District of the Arizona Press Women (APW) is sponsoring a workshop re: finding your niche in fiction writing. The event features urban fantasy author Kevin Hearne who will give a keynote presentation at the East West Exchange at 100 N. Tonto Strreet in Payson from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9.

Hearne, a Valley English teacher, will discuss his path to publication of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a 3-book urban fantasy series with Del Rey, an imprint of Random House. He will provide insight into market analysis, writing a book and sending out proposals, landing an agent and polishing the manuscript. He will offer tips for breaking into the fiction market with specifics regarding fantasy and science fiction genres. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. All three of Hearne’s books (HOUNDED, HEXED, and HAMMERED) will be published in the summer of 2011.

Workshop Fee: Get the early bird rate of $12 per person by registering in advance with APW at (928) 468-9269 or (928) 472-7132 by Monday, October 4, or pay $15 per person by cash or check payable to APW at the door. Student rate is $5.

Longhorns celebrate homecoming with big win

Photos by James Bruner
Above: Rylee Halenar was crowned Homecoming Queen, and Caleb Harrison was named Homecoming King.  Below:
Football action against Round Valley.

By Matt Brabb
Mogollon Connection Editor

The Payson High School varsity football team capped off a week of homecoming celebrations with a thorough beat down of the Round Valley Elks, 42-0 on Friday, Sept. 17. And the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

The Elks came into the game undefeated at 3-0, but it was soon evident that the night would belong to the Longhorns.

Payson (3-1) led 35-0 at the half, scoring touchdowns on 5 of its 6 possessions. They got off to a quick start when quarterback Wade Hunsaker completed a 35 yard pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage. On the second play, tailback Payson Herring scampered to the outside, and took the ball all the way to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown run.

Herring was incredible in the first half, putting on a dazzling display of cutbacks and spin moves that made the Round Valley defense look like it was working in molasses. Herring gained an incredible 216 yards in the first half alone, and scored four touchdowns. He sat out much of the second half after the contest was no longer in doubt.

Other standouts for the Longhorns on offense were Clint Harper, Ryan Rislund, and Westin Gibson. On defense, Gunner Bauer had another fine game, and Jake Sleeper returned an interception for a touchdown.

At halftime, Rylee Halenar was crowned Homecoming Queen, and Caleb Harrison was named Homecoming King.

The Longhorns played Santa Cruz on the road this weekend.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Courtesy photo
Relive those "thrilling days of yesteryear" at the Western Heritage Festival, coming to Green Valley Park on Saturday, Oct. 2.  Details below.

Saturday, September 25

Payson Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at 816 S. Beeline Highway, behind Chili’s Restaurant and in front of the Sawmill Theater. Only three weeks left! Shop for local, fresh picked produce and artisan foods and get your fresh roasted chilies, too.  Relax in the shade, enjoy a snack or meal and listen to live local music, or better yet, bring your musical instrument or voice and join the Jam Session with Roger Williams. For more information, call Lorian at 468-0961 or visit the Web site:

PATS Hike, Round Valley East Section at 8:30 a.m. at the South Phoenix Trail Access (about one mile east of Highway 87 on the south side of Phoenix Street. Turn right on S. Gibson Court; trail access is to the left). The moderate to strenuous hike is 4.5 miles long. It features fantastic views of Payson, the Granite Dells and the Mogollon Rim. For more information, contact Parks & Recreation at 474-5242, ext. 7 or visit the Web site:

Llama Treks in Strawberry from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hosted by Fossil Creek Llamas and Payson Parks & Recreation. Cost is $70 per adult and $50 per child (includes a half-day hike and lunch).
You will be accompanied by a llama buddy who will carry your lunch and gear. For more information or to register, call 474-5242, ext. 7 or visit the Web site:

40th Anniversary Old Time Fiddler's Contest—AZ State Championship on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26 at the Payson Event Center. Gates open on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.; opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Competition begins at 10 a.m. Jam concert at 6 p.m. Gates open on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.; gospel program from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Competition begins at 11 a.m. Tickets are $5 for adults; free for children ages 10 and under. The event is slated to contain lots of family-oriented fun and entertainment, so please make plans to join us and kick back under the tent for some great fiddling fun!

Third Annual Fall Festival, "Fall Apple Festival" on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pine Community Center in Pine. Sponsored by the Pine Strawberry Business Community (PSBC). Proceeds to benefit the Humane Society. Free admission. Features a chili cook-off on Saturday. $3 to taste. The two day fair includes food, vendors and music along with local antique and gift shops to browse. There will be storytelling, antique tractors, a greased
pole climb and pie throwing for the kids. Come enjoy apple and berry pies, apple treats, flats of apples. For more information, e-mail: or visit the Web site:

Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office Mobile Command Center parked at the east side of the Payson Wal-mart parking lot. Turn in unused, expired, unwanted or potentially harmful medication for safe disposal. Free and anonymous service. For more information, visit the DEA Web site at:

Annual October Fest at Rimside Grill from noon to 9:30 p.m., 3270 N. Hwy. 87 in Pine. Live entertainment by Powder & Lead from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. DJ and games from noon to 5 p.m. Volleyball and stein holding contests. Jagermeister specials. German beers on tap. Authentic German food. Raffle prizes (portion of proceeds to be donated to Pine Strawberry Elementary School). Admission: $1. For more information, visit the Web site:

The Gila County Republicans and the Rim Country Republican Club will hold their Headquarters Grand Opening Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. at 434 S. Beeline Highway, Suite C (to the west and behind ERA Realty).  Join us to meet candidates, pick up literature and enjoy yummy treats.
Pioneers BBQ and Dance at 2 p.m. at the Tonto Apache Gym. Tickets are $5 each. All proceeds to benefit local children’s charities.

The Starlighters perform at Tiny's Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260 every Saturday night from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The music is from the "American Songbook" with a selection of tunes typically from Broadway musicals written by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and others along with more recent Bossanova tunes from Antonio Carlos Jobim/Luiz Bonfa and other Latin songwriters.

Sunday, September 26

Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness Sunday Celebration at 11 a.m., 107 W. Wade Lane, Suite 2. Guest speaker will be

Jam Sessions with Junction 87 at the Buffalo Bar & Grill, 311 S. Beeline Highway, every Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.

Monday, September 27

Grief Support Group every first and third Monday of the month from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Hospice House, 511 S. Mud Springs Road. The free drop-in group sessions are for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. For more information, contact Jean Ramsey, 472-6340.

The Rim Country Republican Club will meet at Tiny's Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260.  Dinner and socialize at 5 p.m.; presentations begin 6 p.m.  Guest speakers will be: Andy Tobin, AZ State House Majority Whip, State Senate candidate Sylvia Allen and AZ House candidate Brenda Barton. The candidates will discuss the propositions on the November ballot.

Payson Raconteurs writers group meets each Monday at 6 p.m. at a local restaurant. The association of local writers makes it possible for writers to read their work for critique. For further information, contact 474-0753.

The newly formed Payson Chapter of Amnesty International will hold its regular meeting every third Monday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the East West Book Exchange, 100 N. Tonto Street. Amnesty International investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Join us as we define our local chapter and plan upcoming events to support human rights locally and globally. For more information, e-mail: or call Penny Navis-Schmidt at 474-2391.

Tuesday, September 28

Payson Institute of Learning Lecture Series from 4 to 5 p.m. at Central Arizona Board of Realtors, 600 E. Highway 260, Suite 12. Presentation by Roxanne Boryczki on “Travel Smart.” Tips on spending less and getting more for your travel dollar. Destinations will also be discussed.  $64 for season ticket or $10 for session ticket. Tickets may be purchased at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, 100 W. Main. Street. For more information, call 474-4515.

Rim Country Toastmasters meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Mogollon Health Alliance Auxiliary building next to the Almost New Shop at 304 E. Aero Drive. Networking at 5:30 p.m. The 60-minute meeting begins at 5:45 p.m. Find or refine your voice with us. Learn to persuade and inspire your audience, organize your speech, use vocal variety and overcome fear at the podium. For more information contact, (928) 478-8820 or

Wednesday, September 29

United Blood Drive on Wednesday, Sept. 29 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Town of Payson parking lot, 303 N. Beeline Highway. For more information, contact Tomi Huddlestun at 474-5242.

Pre-school Story Time, every Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. in the Pine Public Library.

Puppet Story Time, every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in the Payson Public Library.

Senior Center Luau Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 514 W. Main Street. Advance reservations are requested for lunch. Sweet and sour chicken, Hawaiian salad, carrots, brown rice and pineapple surprise. Beverage included. Entertainment, games and karaoke by BIG BOB. $3; open to public. For more information, call 474-4876.

Kickin’ Cancer Support Group meets every first Wednesday of the month at noon at the Payson United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy Street. Bring brown bag lunch.

Awana will meet every Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ponderosa Baptist Church. The nationwide program for community children ages three through sixth grade includes Bible stories, memory verses and games. Contact Shirley Dye, 468-1131 or the church office, 474-9279 for more information and registration.

A Course in Miracles discussion group at 6:30 p.m. at the Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness, 107 W. Wade Lane, Suite 2. Based on the Course in Miracles book and facilitated by Wes Ruth. For more information, visit the Web site:

Thursday, September 30

Tikes & Toddlers Story Time every Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Payson Public Library Meeting Room.

Chamber Business Buzz - "How May We Health You?" on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Tiny's Family Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260. Discussion of Health Care Reform and how it affects you and your business. Speakers will include: Tom Russell of Tom Russell & Associates and Bo Larsen from the Payson Regional Medical Center. No host luncheon. Door prizes and raffles. Admission is $3 per Chamber member and $5 for community members.

Family Time at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. Activities include games, stories, puppets and art. For more information, call the library, 476-3678.

Crafty Kidz at the Payson Public Library Children’s Room every Thursday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. A craft center for kids to create, experiment and have fun. Activities include coloring, painting, stamping, magnets, cooking, clay sculpting, jewelry and papier mache. Open to kids of all ages. Parents must accompany children 5 years of age and under. For more information, contact Harryette, 474-9260.

Dinner Specials every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Greater Payson Moose Lodge #258, 225903 E. Highway 260 in Star Valley. Specials include fried and baked fish, breaded shrimp or chicken along with vegetables, dinner salad, bread and choice of potato. $7 per person. Members and guests welcome.

Magic Show and Dinner every Thursday night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at MoJoe’s Café on Main Street featuring the Miracle of Magic with Joe Miracle. Sit back and be entertained with table magic and magnificent stage illusions. Reservations recommended. Please call 478-8828.
Payson Tea Party Sons and Daughters of Liberty regular meeting at Tiny’s Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 1

Free Art Classes every Friday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main Street. Instructor, Helen Tennent. For more information or to enroll, call 474-3996 or 474-4876.

“Famous Fish Fry” at the American Legion Tonto Rim Post #69 every Friday from noon to 8 p.m., 709 E. Highway 260. Karaoke from 6 to 10 p.m. Public welcome.

Beginning Genealogy Class every third Friday of the month from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Genealogy Library, 302 E. Bonita Street. The class is packed full of concepts, techniques and ideas which will get you started on your way to fulfilling a lifetime of tracing your family tree. Pre-registration and payment of fee is required. $5 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Evening classes can be conducted by appointment. For more information, contact Peggy Gray, 474-5015.

First Friday on Main Street Block Party, 5-8 p.m.

Dinner Theater at MoJoe's Café on Main Street every Friday night (except First Friday) from 6 to 7 p.m. Back by popular request is Katherine Kelly, Jim West and the gang. (G rated fun!) Reservations required, 478-8828.

Upcoming Events

“Greatstrides—taking steps to cure cystic fibrosis” walk around the lake to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Green Valley Park on Saturday, Oct. 2. Check-in at 8:30 a.m. Walk begins at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Lori Nelson at (602) 224-0068 or register at

Western Heritage Festival and Zane Grey Classic Vintage Baseball Game on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Green Valley Park. Apache craft and western theme demonstrations, Zane Grey Twirlers, children’s activities, music by Bryan Higgens, Southern Comfort and Bill Camp, artists, authors and a raffle. Zane Grey Classic from 1 to 3 p.m.—the Payson Cougars vs. Stars & Stripes, ATVBBL. Food and drink, free event. Sponsored by the Northern Gila County Historical Society, Inc. and the Arizona Territories Vintage Baseball League.

Daniel Narducci, classic American baritone, will perform on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Payson High School Auditorium. Presented by the Tonto Community Concert Association. Narducci is a multi-faceted artist whose talents have been captured through live stage presentations, recordings, documentaries and television. Since his professional debut with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the direction of Erich Kunzel, Narducci has appeared with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Naples Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Houston Symphony and the Detroit Symphony. He has appeared regularly as a guest artist at many popular summer music venues throughout North America, including the Wolf Trap, Ravinia, Blossom, Saratoga and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festivals. Basic subscription for adult tickets: $80 per person or $30 per performance if available at the door. For subscriptions or other information, call 474-6115 or 478-4363 or visit the Web site:

Fall Blood Drive at Best Western Payson Inn, 801 N. Beeline Highway, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the meeting room. United Blood Services needs 700 donations each day to support Arizona hospitals. Blood for hospital patients can only come from volunteer (non-paid donors). Thirty eight percent of the population is eligible to give blood but in Arizona, only three percent donate. If you cannot donate, please help us get the word out regarding this life-saving mission. If you would like to volunteer and assist with the blood drive or donate blood, please contact April Denny at 474-3241. To sign up for an appointment on-line, visit the Web site: and bring up the sponsor code, bestwesternpayson. All donors are entered to win a pair of Suite Tickets to a Phoenix Suns Game. Bring a photo ID, drink plenty of water and eat a light healthy meal before you arrive to donate blood.

Candlelight Vigil for the Time Out Shelter will be held on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 5:45 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy Street. For more information, visit the Time Out Thrift Shop, 500 E. Beeline Highway or call the shop, 474-3989.

235th Anniversary Celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps will be held at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino on Saturday, Nov. 6. Social hour begins at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Guest speaker at 7 p.m. will be former Marine and official Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble. Raffle and after-dinner listening and dance music to begin at 8 p.m. $35 per dinner. Attendees may select from two entrees: prime rib of beef or chicken Oscar. RSVP required. This event is sponsored by the Rim Country detachment of the Marine Corps league, “Payson Marines!” For additional information and/or to make reservations, call Marine Lee Bumbalow at 468-1095 or Colonel Bill Sahno at 472-6617.

Rim Country Briefs

40th Anniversary Old Time Fiddler's Contest—AZ State Championship on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26 at the Payson Event Center. Gates open on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.; opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Competition begins at 10 a.m. Jam concert at 6 p.m. Gates open on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.; gospel program from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Competition begins at 11 a.m. Tickets are $5 for adults; free for children ages 10 and under. The event is slated to contain lots of family-oriented fun and entertainment, so please make plans to join us and kick back under the tent for some great fiddling fun!

Third Annual Fall Festival, "Fall Apple Festival" on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pine Community Center in Pine. Sponsored by the Pine Strawberry Business Community (PSBC). Proceeds to benefit the Humane Society. Free admission. Features a chili cook-off on Saturday. $3 to taste. The two day fair includes food, vendors and music along with local antique and gift shops to browse. There will be storytelling, antique tractors, a greased
pole climb and pie throwing for the kids. Come enjoy apple and berry pies, apple treats, flats of apples. For more information, e-mail: or visit the Web site:

Friday, September 24, 2010

PERSPECTIVE on relative happiness of GCC faculty

There are probably 50 instructors at the Payson Campus of Gila Community College (GCC), give or take.  To do a front page story (in Friday's Roundup) with a headline that implies we, the faculty, are unhappy over our pay and our contracts when, in fact, only two teachers were actually unhappy, is grossly misleading.  I am an instructor at GCC.  In the course of a week I probably talk to 10 instructors.  Not one of them expressed displeasure over pay or contracts to me.  In fact, we were informed in a timely manner by the administration that there was a pay discrepancy and it was being investigated.  We got paid.  We have signed contracts.  It didn't, in this instructor's opinion, deserve to be a front page story -- nor did it deserve to be called a "disaster."  Come on guys, there's got to be more important stuff to put on the front page..
Jim Keyworth
Blog Editor

New humane society director meets the troops

Photo by Jim Keyworth
New Humane Society of Central Arizona (HSCAZ) Executive Director Sarah Hock at a meet and greet event held last night (Thursday, Sept. 23).  The event was held to introduce her to HSCAZ staff and friends.

Sarah Hock, the Strawberry native recently selected as the new executive director of the Humane Society of Central Arizona (HSCAZ), met her staff, shelter volunteers and friends at a meet and greet held Thursday evening, Sept. 23.

The Payson High School graduate, who has a Master of Nonprofit studies from Arizona State University, briefly addressed attendees, conveying her excitement at the opportunity and pledging to help staff and volunteers make the shelter all that it can be.  HSCAZ Board President Bill Enlund also spoke. 

When she was a young girl, Hock frequently visited the shelter, telling her mother she wanted to own it one day.  Enlund joked that she has now taken a step in that direction.

The reaction from several staff members following the event was enthusiastic. 

The board is currently working on a scaled down version of the proposed new animal shelter behind the existing shelter on McLane Road.

Prior to completing her Masters, Hock was employed with the Arizona Animal Welfare League and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Phoenix over the past five years.

Air Force veteran, Utah native Elmer Searle dies

Elmer Lee Searle
1917 - 2010

Elmer Lee Searle, 92, of Payson, Ariz. died Sept. 19, 2010 in Payson. He was born Nov. 11, 1917 in Toole, Utah to Asa Lyman Searle and Eleanor Amanda Peasnall Searle, and grew up there.

He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1937 until his retirement as a major in 1961. After leaving the military, he continued serving his country through civil service.

He married the love of his life, Martha Ellen Kennedy Searle, on Feb. 15, 1941 and was a devoted husband for nearly 70 years until his death.

Elmer was stationed in Puerto Rico, Panama and Korea, and then in Japan with his wife and two daughters. He and Martha also traveled to Ireland and Egypt, as well as living in or traveling to virtually all the 50 United States.

He was an expert bridge player and a joyful dancer, teaching his wife to dance early in their marriage and square dancing with her for many years. After moving to Payson in the late 1970's, he was active in the community as a friend of the library, by providing tax assistance to the elderly, and in the Payson United Methodist Church.

He is survived by his wife Martha; his daughter Mary Ellen Searle Theisen; two brothers, Gilbert and Ronald; four grandchildren, Dianna Lauri Smith, Sherri Lee Smith Cowhig, John Eric Theisen, and Debra Addae; and eight great-grandchildren. His daughter Judith Lee Searle Smith and great-grandchild Ashley Theisen preceded him in death.

A memorial service will be held to celebrate his life on Sunday, September 26 at 3 p.m. at the Payson United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy St. In lieu of sending flowers, the family requests donations be made to the church.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

LETTER: GOP party of 'know' rather than 'no'

Dear Jim:

Please consider the following:

The Democrats love to call us the Party of "No",

Well... in fact, we do "know"!

We "know" that we need to encourage the growth of small and large business to come out of this economic recession...

We "know" that we need less Federal government, and lower taxes to be spent on that government...

We "know" that our borders must be secured, as the first step in any Immigration Reform...

We "know" that Obama's health care reform is a disaster, and must be repealed and a new one put in place that will actually work...

And we "know" that we the people of the United States are in charge of this Country, not the Washington Political Elite who think they are!

And the Democratic progressive leftist elite, "know" none of this!

Larry and Eloise Kontz

Rebuilding Arizona's brand in the wake of SB1070

The golf course at The Phoenician is an image of Arizona that tourism leaders say they want to project in the wake of SB 1070. Controversy over the immigration law came as resorts were suffering from a drop-off in companies holding destination meetings in Arizona. FireSky Resort and Spa in Scottsdale. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Rebecca L. McClay)

Cronkite News Service

SCOTTSDALE – At FireSky Resort and Spa, Jim Hollister’s inbox swelled with e-mails from guests demanding cancellations just after SB 1070 became law.

But the general manager of the luxury resort said business has been pleasantly brisk lately as fewer customers seem fazed by Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

“I was watching carefully how business has been rolling in,” Hollister said. “My summer business has never been better. … So people are traveling.”

SB 1070, which makes it a state crime for an immigrant to be here without documents, triggered a boycott on Arizona’s tourism industry and caused hundreds of hotel cancellations when it was signed into law in April. The hit compounded problems created by the broader economic downturn.

While a federal judge put most of the law’s provisions on hold pending a court challenge, Michael Bidwell, president of the Arizona Cardinals, says it’s time government and business leaders start focusing on how to repair the damage done to the state’s brand.

“If you’re going to work on a branding strategy, you’ve got to have a product that is worth selling,” Bidwell said during a panel discussion at a recent economic forum held by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve got to have leadership, we’ve got to have a budget and we’ve got to have a PR strategy. … We need to understand we are competing with other regions of the world, and we need to get a game plan.”

Bidwell, who is also chairman of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said the state needs a budget for a marketing campaign to promote its positive aspects, like its slew of luxury resorts, top-rated health care system and burgeoning renewable power industry.

Arizona’s tourism industry lost upwards of $15 million when more than 40 groups canceled hotel stays in protest of SB 1070, said Kristen Jarnagin, vice president of communications for the Arizona Tourism Alliance, a nonprofit organization for travel-related businesses. The lost revenue doesn’t include groups that may have considered booking but never made reservations, she said, so the total business lost is likely much higher.

“It’s difficult to know what the long-term impacts will be, because when meetings book, they usually book two or three years out,” Jarnagin said. “So, this could impact us for the next three years.”

Still, Jarnagin expects that the worst of SB 1070′s effect on Arizona’s tourism industry has passed. When the boycott on tourism was rescinded, it was the beginning of the end to the deterioration of the state brand, she said.

“Hopefully this does not set a future precedent for other cities and states and destinations,” Jarnagin said. “It’s definitely something that could hurt innocent people. … When you cancel a meeting or decide not to come to a destination you’re putting housekeepers and bellmen out of work.”

In 2009, there was more than $16 billion in tourism spending, putting over $2 billion in tax revenue into the state and local coffers, according to the Arizona Tourism Alliance.

Even before SB 1070, Arizona’s tourism industry was reeling from the broader economic recession as well as the so-called “AIG effect,” in which large corporations were reluctant to hold lavish resort events after the government bailed out insurance giant AIG.

Brent DeRaad, executive vice president of the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, said those existing challenges make it difficult to separate and quantify the impact of SB 1070.

Booking rates in Arizona hotels are up over 2009 as the recession has reversed, but those increases lag slightly behind the national rebound, DeRaad said.

“The number of planners considering Arizona for their meetings right now, that number is smaller than it used to be,” DeRaad said. “In some cases, certainly not all cases, longtime customers are saying, ‘We need to take a little break from Arizona, at least until some of the fury with regard to 1070 dies down.’”

While large-meeting cancellations have been the biggest hit to tourism revenue, the impact of individual visitors now avoiding the state hasn’t caused as severe a financial impact, DeRaad said. That’s because many people are deliberately vacationing here in support of the law, he said.

“The Arizona brand is very strong and it has been for many years,” DeRaad said. “We do certainly think there will be a continued recovery.”

Tourism industry revenue by year:

– 1999: $13.1 billion
– 2000: $14.2 billion
– 2001: $13.4 billion
– 2002: $13.3 billion
– 2003: $14.7 billion
– 2004: $15.9 billion
– 2005: $17.6 billion
– 2006: $18.7 billion
– 2007: $19.1 billion
– 2008: $18.5 billion
– 2009: $16.6 billion

Source: Arizona Office of Tourism

PAWS takes on Chili Supper for Humane Society

Photo by Jim Keyworth
The annual Chili Supper has always been a special event where the little guy can support the Humane Society of Central Arizona.  It's a great feed at a great price, as the gentleman above will attest.  And you can't beat the cause.

Popular populist event slated for Nov. 9

The weather will be changing soon, and it is time to think about comfort food for dinner. If you are thinking chili, mark your calendar for the 14th Annual Chili Supper on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

This year the chili supper will be sponsored by PAWS in the Park and all the proceeds will go to the Humane Society of Central Arizona (HSCAZ).  The PAWS in the Park organization built and helps to maintain the Off-Leash Dog Park.

The chili supper will again be at the Elks Lodge on Airport Road from 4 to 7 p.m. It is still $7 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Enjoy an incredible meal of chili, macaroni and cheese, salad, rolls and homemade cupcakes. Tickets are available at the HSCAZ Animal Shelter, at 812 S. McLane Road; Humane Society Thrift Store at 404 W. Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce office at 100 W. Main Street; Payson Public Library, at 328 N. McLane Road, and at the door.

Along with great eats, you can take a chance on 50/50 raffles, and a U-Pic raffle. At the boutique, check out the terrific items donated by the generous businesses, organizations and individuals in the area. They’ll make great holiday gifts. Come and enjoy a great meal, visit with friends, and listen to the blues played by the 5-piece band “Blue Frog.”  There will truly be something for everyone.

All proceeds go to caring for the homeless animals of Rim Country. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a great evening and to contribute to a worthy cause all at the same time. For more information about the event or about the Humane Society of Central Arizona, call the shelter at 928-474-5590, PAWS in the Park member, Donna Rokoff at 928-472-1542 or Humane Society volunteer Betty Raveling at 928-468-7132.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two sides weigh in on medical marijuana initiative

Heather Torgerson of Scottsdale says using marijuana helped her deal with fatigue and nausea as she was treated for brain cancer. Torgerson is the chairwoman of an effort to approve Proposition 203, which would add Arizona to states allowing the medical use of marijuana. (Cronkite News Service Photo by David Rookhuyzen)

Carolyn Short of Paradise Valley is chairwoman of Keep AZ Drug Free the main group opposing Proposition 203. Short says the measure would give protection to drug users and is a step toward legalizing all forms of marijuana use. (Cronkite News Service Photo by David Rookhuyzen)

Cut and dried marijuana is shown in this U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration photo. (Photo by the the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – Heather Torgerson wrote a college paper against the use of medical marijuana. Today, however, she says what once seemed so wrong then is the reason she’s survived brain cancer.

She almost had to stop treatment after chemotherapy and radiation left her nauseated and fatigued. When prescriptions and homeopathic remedies didn’t reverse her weight loss, she turned to marijuana.

Torgerson said her appetite returned within five minutes.

“I owe my life to it,” she said.

As chair of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, Torgerson says many Arizonans would benefit if voters approve Proposition 203, a ballot measure that would legalize the medical use of marijuana.

The proposition would allow a qualifying person with a doctor’s recommendation to receive 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from licensed dispensaries. Qualifying conditions would include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and chronic pain.

The Arizona Department of Health Services would register and issue identification cards to patients and caregivers to use marijuana or grow up to 12 plants if they live far from a dispensary.

With most of its funding in the form of cash and in-kind contributions from the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington D.C.-based lobbying group, Torgerson’s group gathered enough petition signatures to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana. Minnesota voters also are deciding a ballot measure in November.

Meanwhile, California’s Proposition 19 would legalize and regulate marijuana much like tobacco or alcohol.

Arizona voters approved medical marijuana use in 1996, but the measure never took effect because it would have required a doctor’s prescription, which is illegal under the federal law. Proposition 203 instead would require a doctor’s recommendation, which would have the same weight as a prescription but only on a state level.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that the government wouldn’t prosecute marijuana users who comply with state laws.

Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, says the measure will protect the seriously ill.

“Right now those people face a really terrible choice,” Myers said. “They either have to continue suffering with a serious, debilitating medical condition or they have to follow their doctor’s advice, use marijuana illegally and then live in fear of arrest and prosecution.”

Opponents, however, say that the law is less about medicine and more about protecting marijuana users.

“Saying that this is for medicine for sick people is an absolute smokescreen,” said Carolyn Short, chairwoman of a group calling itself Keep AZ Drug Free, Proposition 203′s chief opposition.

Short said a loophole in the measure is the inclusion of severe and chronic pain as a qualifying condition. In other states with medical marijuana laws, she said, almost all patients use the drug for pain rather than serious illness.

In addition, Short said the allowed 2.5 ounces would equal 200 joints, which she said is more than one person can smoke in two weeks.

“What happens to the excess?” Short said. “I think we know what happens to the excess.”

Myers said the 2.5-ounce allowance is necessary since most patients consume marijuana with food, which require more of the drug.

Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t tested marijuana for safety and efficacy and added that the voters shouldn’t be able to circumvent this process.

“There are no other medications that people vote on,” he said.

If the measure passes, however, Humble said his department would implement the system in a fair and efficient way.

In the Secretary of State’s Office publicity pamphlet, five county sheriffs and 11 county attorneys state their opposition to Proposition 203.

“If this proposition passes, a cottage industry of physician recommendations, caregivers and pot shops will spring up overnight in our communities,” their statement says.

Torgerson said the proposition’s detractors lack the unique perspective that she and others share.

“I’m not mad at them; they just don’t know,” she said.

Where medical marijuana is allowed:

– Alaska
- California
- Colorado
- Hawaii
- Maine
- Michigan
- Montana
- Nevada
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Oregon
- Rhode Island
- Vermont
- Washington
- District of Columbia

Desert Botanical Garden will purchase Chihuly art

Photo by Jim Keyworth
If you haven't yet been to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, here's one more reason to go.  The trio of yellow-green desert wildflowers above aren't real.  Called "Desert Towers," they are one of 17 pieces of glass art by Dale Chihuly that were on display at the garden in 2008-2009.  Now the garden has nearly raised the $800,000 to purchase it and add it to its collection of public art.  You don't even have to pay to see "Desert Towers."  It is currently on loan and can be seen at the garden's front entrance.  Desert Botanical Garden is located at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix. 

PERSPECTIVE on status of ASU campus in Payson


From the outset, we have said that reports of a four-year college in Payson seem greatly exaggerated.  Lest you think we know not of what we speak, listen to this:

According to an absolutely rock-solid reliable source right here in Payson, a top ASU administrator recently told her the following:

"I wish we were as far along (in the process) as the Payson Roundup says we are."

We rest our case.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Prop. 301 pits state deficit against preserving land

Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, shows a parcel in north Scottsdale that fits the profile of land voters had in mind when they approved a fund to preserve open spaces facing development. In November, voters will decide whether to use tens of millions of dollars from the Growing Smarter fund to shore up the state budget. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Rebecca L. McClay)

Scottsdale hopes to use money from the Growing Smarter fund to add these 2,000 acres to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Rebecca L. McClay)

Cronkite News Service

SCOTTSDALE – Sandy Bahr envisions this expanse of land near the McDowell Mountains remaining just as it is: a picturesque scene of large saguaros and desert brush.

Thanks to $23 million from a fund Arizona voters created in 1998 to preserve open spaces, Scottsdale plans to add about 2,000 acres of state trust land here to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. To Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, it’s money well spent.

But it could be one of the last such purchases receiving money from the Growing Smarter fund if voters approve a ballot measure in November.

The Legislature referred Proposition 301, also called the Land Conservation Fund Transfer, to have voters decide whether $123.5 million in state funds will be kept for preservation projects or siphoned into the general fund to balance the budget.

Bahr is among those opposing the measure, saying money for buying state trust land should stay intact.

“By redirecting these dollars, they hurt the local communities that were trying to conserve the land and they hurt conservation all over the state,” Bahr said. “They should keep their hands off it.”

It’s one of two proposals on the Nov. 2 ballot in which voters will have a direct say in how to balance the state’s fiscal 2011 budget, which took effect July 1.

The budget passed based on the assumption that voters would approve both Proposition 301 and Proposition 302, which would eliminate the First Things First early childhood health and development program. State law requires voter approval because voters created both programs.

Bahr said other measures like closing tax loopholes or scaling back spending in other departments are her preferred alternatives to balancing the budget.

Proponents of eliminating the Land Conservation Fund say the consequences of not balancing the budget – including the state receiving a downgrade on its debt rating from Moody’s Investors Service – are too severe to ignore. The downgrade from a Aa2 to Aa3 in July makes it more expensive for the government to borrow money.

“We can’t afford it,” said Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, who called the founding of the fund “well intended.”
“We need the money many other places,” he said. “Buying open space is not high on the list of priorities.”

Rep. Rick Murphy, R-Glendale, said Arizona faces an unprecedented budget crisis.

“It is irresponsible to cut true necessities like public safety or basic K-12 education while continuing to spend money on non-essentials, no matter how good or important they might be,” Murphy said in an e-mail interview.

The Land Conservation Fund is administered by the Arizona State Parks Board. The money is allocated to communities on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis to purchase state trust land.

Proposition 301 opponents argue that the money, the only state funding source for land preservation, is critical for preserving the environment in the face of growth. They argue that unlike Proposition 302, Proposition 301 doesn’t have a provision that would require money taken from the fund to be used for a similar purpose.

Scottsdale has already received $3.3 million from the fund to help purchase a 400-acre parcel of land in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, said Scottsdale Preserve Director Kroy Ekblaw, who didn’t take a position on the proposition.

“We have additional land we would like to acquire,” Ekblaw said. “If the revenue was available, we would certainly like to take advantage.”

Scottsdale could still purchase more land but not as much as if it had the matching funds, Ekblaw said.

Phoenix and Coconino County have also already applied to purchase state trust land parcels. According to a report from Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, the applications could come to a halt if the measure passes.

Bahr said Arizona’s means of preserving land for parks are on life support at present and that Proposition 301 would take away one of the last certain sources of funding.

“In tough economic times, this is some of the only money going to land conservation,” she said.

Facts about Proposition 301 vote:
– Key Provision: Would transfer to the general fund $123.5 million from Land Conservation Fund voters created in 1998 to preserve open spaces.
– Trend: Along with Proposition 302, dealing with the First Things First early childhood development program, it would reallocate funds to shore up the state budget.
– The Fund: Matches municipalities’ land conservation efforts dollar-for-dollar to purchase state trust land.
– Trust Land: Proceeds from sales of land granted to Arizona by Congress are used to benefit public schools.