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Monday, May 31, 2010

Babies survive bathwater in middle class America

(This is the third and final installment of Noble and Sharon's great cross country odyssey in a 1998 Buick Custom LeSabre.)
The Weather Channel confirmed what AAA was telling us about possible severe weather in western Oklahoma. It appeared to be hovering right around I-40, right in our path. We were half way home, though, and making good time, so we didn’t want to detour unless we absolutely had to do so.

Down I-40 we went - America’s Autobahn - between Little Rock and Fort Smith, Ark. This is arguably the least patrolled and therefore the fastest speed allowed on any highway in the U.S.

It’s a trucker’s delight. They can make up any lost time by keeping “the pedal to the metal” for about 150 miles.

A mere automobile is advised to stick to the “slow” lane to the right. You can “piddle along” at 80 mph if you maintain control of your vehicle when big tractor trailer rigs blow by at something over 90.

I considered just “drafting” one of these rigs and turning off my engine. In the end, Sharon and I disagreed as to the viability of this move. I didn’t take her threats seriously, but I do value my marriage, so I usually let her win a few, especially when she reminds me that I am no longer a teenager - nor even considered middle-aged, anymore, and should act more mature, especially when there is precious cargo to be considered. I refused to sulk or pout, so we got through that little encounter nicely. I’m nothing if not considerate.

Arkansas is the home of Tyson Foods, and most likely a large portion of the population is contracted to grow chickens, cattle or hogs for the company. Farm after farm met some or all of the requirements.

It’s difficult to evaluate the terrain at 80-plus mph, but we were told that there is some beautiful country up in the Ozark Mountains. Lakes and rivers abound, they say, and it makes for a great retirement area. We are pretty well sold on Payson, though, and we know our weather is better, so we aren‘t tempted..

Down I-40 we whooshed until we finally crossed over into Oklahoma, where the speed limit is 70 and strictly enforced. We set the cruise control at 74, and relaxed for the first time since leaving Little Rock. It was early afternoon when we passed through Oklahoma City, and the local radio stations were beginning to report gathering dark clouds ahead. We could actually see this taking place, but there were no reports of hail or tornadoes, so we pushed on, hoping to get past the threatening area before trouble started.

For about an hour, we watched as a huge black cloud formed up ahead but slightly off to our right. Lightning began flashing throughout the cloud, and a slight drizzle caused us to turn on the windshield wipers. We scanned and found a local radio station which was reporting the progress of this storm as it made its way toward Oklahoma City behind us. Several small towns reported wind damage and one even reported a tornado touching down, but this was later recanted.

The storm was moving east and we were moving west, so as long as it remained somewhat to the north, we felt safe. Sure enough, after some tense driving, we arrived at Shamrock, Texas, just over the state line. The weather turned much cooler after the storm, but Shamrock had suffered no damage.

The brief stay in Shamrock was marked by a pretty darn good meal at Vern’s Steak House. The waitress actually asked if we wanted sweet tea or “Un.” and she supplied fresh cut lemon without prompting. At some places in this world, they are keeping the faith. Glory!

I would have given her a big hug, but Sharon reminded me that I am no longer a teenager, nor even middle-aged anymore. I suffered her evaluation without obvious malice, but I managed my best grandfatherly flirt, and it was received graciously.

Before retiring for the night, we noticed that we were close to passing through another time zone. This opened up the possibility of getting all the way to Payson before dark the next day. We resolved to make this our goal.

We slept very well every night, but we did notice some recurring issues with inexpensive motels across the country. First, almost always, either a sink or a bath tub will have a slow drain - very slow in most cases. I don’t greatly enjoy showering with water crawling up my legs, nor is it particularly inviting to shave with a slow sink of murky water staring at me. Unless you stay at a name brand motel, the soap is going to be WWII surplus and what is supplied as shampoo must have been squeezed from the last drops in old bottles, then packaged in tiny plastic envelopes into which has been pumped an equal amount of water. Stay away from the “conditioner.”

The air conditioner will always be an “in-house” model with two settings - very cold or fan. If you like background noise to sleep by, though, these are nice contraptions. These were small annoyances, actually. All the rooms were quite clean and came with Wi-Fi in addition to multiple channel televisions. We saved our money for bigger expenses like McDonald’s or Sonic (our favorite.)

The car was a nice surprise, as it was getting great gas milage.

The terrain fairly quickly becomes rugged and somewhat mountainous as you cross into New Mexico at Albuquerque. Evidence of great land upheaval and volcanic activity is quite noticeable. This continues until Arizona is reached, where, surprisingly the land becomes somewhat flat again. This is the edge of the Colorado Plateau which ends at the Mogollon Rim overlooking Payson.

We turned off I-40 at Holbrook and took some nice back roads over to highway 260, which comes right into Payson. The Rim is at 6,500 feet elevation and once it is crossed, a beautiful winding drive down through Ponderosa forests and fantastic valley views get you to Payson at 5,000 feet.

Home at last! We have driven over 1,800 miles in four days, and actually enjoyed most of it. The car was a jewel, and we remained a happily married couple for the most part.

My faith in good old middle class America was somewhat restored to a large degree as well. Too bad we don’t just turn over all our contentious, spiteful wrangling to these folks who seem to understand real life so well.

They aren’t easily fooled and are positive thinkers mostly. They don’t appear to be interested in throwing out babies in the bath water, so to speak. Not even the murky slow-drain stuff.

2010-11 TCCA concert series a bargain at $80

Courtesy photo
The Gibson Brothers, country bluegrass artists, will open the 2010-11 TCCA season on Sept. 20.

New season includes eight premium events 

The Tonto Community Concert Association (TCCA) announces its lineup of concerts for the upcoming season that will begin this fall. The organization will host eight first-rate performances with a broad medley of audience-pleasing musical performances.

TCCA subscribers will enjoy a range of music running from traditional folk sounds of The New Christy Minstrels to Jim Witter’s tribute to the piano hits of Elton John and Billy Joel. In fact the season will debut with the Gibson Brothers country bluegrass band and complete the season several months later with the rousing Dallas Brass.

The ticket price for the entire season subscription is $80—only $10 per concert. And students accompanied by a ticketed adult are admitted free.

“The association brings world-class performers from around the globe to Payson,” said TCCA president Marilyn Wolfe. “We also work to bring in artists who are not just exceptional musicians, but those who give the audience a complete musical experience.” She added, “Many of the performers also enjoy meeting with attendees after the show, answering questions and signing autographs.”

As a special service to the youth of the community, the TCCA works with several of the artists to host special “outreach” performances just for Payson area students.

The Tonto Community Concert Association is a nonprofit organization that brings high quality concerts to Arizona Rim Country at an affordable price. The all-volunteer board also supports other performing arts activities in the region. The concerts feature artists of national and international reputation and are held at the Payson High School auditorium.

For subscriptions or other information, call 928-474-6115 or 928-478-4363 or click on www.tccarim.org.

2010-11 SEASON LINEUP

The Gibson Brothers
Country Bluegrass
Monday, September 20, 2010, 7:00 PM

Eric and Leigh Gibson grew up on a dairy farm outside of Ellenburg Depot, New York in the shadow of the Adirondack Mountains. It isn't the typical beginning for a bluegrass band, but sometimes things just come together. "My parents loved music but they didn't play," says Eric. "My father, I think, always wanted to play but he worked like mad from the time he was 9 years old. He was a dairy farmer. He'd go to an auction and come back with a fiddle, and they ordered a guitar and a banjo through the Sears Roebuck Catalog so we had instruments around the house, but nobody knew how to play them. When I was 12 and Leigh was 11, we came home from school and Dad said, ‘There's a guy giving lessons at Dick's Country Store, and I'd like one of you to play the banjo and one to play the guitar.’ Eric chose banjo and Leigh, guitar, and the die was cast.”

The brothers took lessons on their instruments and began singing at the suggestion of their minister. "We progressed at the same rate," remembers Eric. "We grew up listening to the same people and seemed to agree about what type of songs we wanted to play and our direction. We never really argued about that. If I like a song, Leigh will like it too."

Daniel Narducci
Classic American Baritone
Sunday, October 3, 2010, 2:30 PM

Classic American baritone, Daniel 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, Mr. 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.

The New Christy Minstrels *
Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 7:00 PM

If you prize authenticity, time is running out. It seems that most old-fashioned musical concerts these days present only tribute bands, younger folks playing and singing in the style of well known idols, and what's the difference, as long as the programs are sincere and accurate? The difference for Randy Sparks and most of the born-again New Christy Minstrels is extraordinary excitement on a nightly basis. The surviving Beatles could only be, at best, a duo, but there are five original Minstrels in a presentation of The New Christy Minstrels these days, occasionally as many as seven. Randy invented the format and founded the group in 1961, recorded them on the Columbia label in 1962, won a Grammy for their first album in '63, and reached millions of people across the world via television and their hit singles and albums. Now they are back, and not just a famous name along with only newer, younger faces, but as John Madden might say it’s, 'the real deal.'

Christiana Pegoraro, Pianist *
Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 7:00 PM

Hailed by The New York Times as "an artist of the highest caliber," Italian born pianist Cristiana Pegoraro has performed in some of the greatest concert halls in Europe, United States, South America, Asia, Middle East and Australia. At her 10th sold out concert at Lincoln Center, she was honored with the “Circolo Culturale Italiano of the United Nations World Peace Award” for her support to the cause of advancing peace in the world. Cristiana received the “2007 President of Italy Award” in recognition for her achievements as a performer and composer. She is an Ambassador of the Right to Music and a testimonial of Umbria’s tourism campaign abroad.

At the current time, she is the first female Italian pianist to perform all 32 Sonatas for piano by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Celtic Blaze *
Monday, February 14, 2011, 7:00 PM

Celtic Blaze! Exciting! New! Fast-paced! A show featuring a contemporary take on Canada’s music and dance heritage told through dance, story-telling and (of course) music. The production features the talents of world-champion tap dancer/fiddle/singer, Stephanie Cadman. Stephanie has more than twenty years of vast performance experience, including Ottawa Valley step dancing, classical and Celtic fiddling and international tap, jazz and musical theatre performances. She blends her considerable talent with a quintet of piano, guitar, violin/mandolin, bass and percussion to bring audiences, young and old, a thrilling musical experience.

Jim Witter – The Piano Men
Monday, March 21, 2011, 7:00 PM

Jim Witter has been entertaining for more than 20 years. Whether it be country music, contemporary Christian, or the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, Jim’s versatility as an artist has allowed him the opportunity to reach out and share his music and his infectious personality with audiences of all ages across Canada and the United States. Supported by bass, guitar, keyboards and drums, you’ll see and hear the soundtrack of your life during this multi-media “rockumentary”! This, along with his rich, powerful voice and ease of manner at the piano, makes him a favorite with theatre goers everywhere. He is the talented creator and performer of The Piano Men. Jim’s music and songwriting has earned him many awards and nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association, the Juno Awards and others.

Paul McDermand *
Friday, April 15, 2011, 7:00 PM

Paul McDermand began his musical career as a free-lance percussionist in the Chicago area. At the age of nineteen, he assumed the percussion duties in The Music Man playing in a downtown Chicago theater, starring David Copperfield. In1981, Paul moved to the Phoenix area, lending his artistry to film scores, commercial jingles, symphonic productions and stage shows of every description. In 1993 he received an invitation from New York to join a revival tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ, Superstar. Upon his return to Scottsdale, Paul began to develop an assortment of instrumental arrangements built around the steel drums and marimba. For nineteen continuous years he has proudly performed at the elegant Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa.

Dallas Brass *
Friday, May 13, 2011, 7:00 PM

Since its founding in 1983 by Michael Levine, the Dallas Brass has become one of America’s foremost musical ensembles. The group has established a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion, which creates a performing entity of extraordinary range and musical challenges. The Dallas Brass’ repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, Swing, Broadway, Hollywood and Patriotic music. According to Mr. Levine, "A Dallas Brass concert is intended for the entire family. Our ideal audience has a range in ages from 5 to 95. Our goal is to entertain and enrich by playing great music, while showing our audience how much we enjoy what we do."

* Indicates an additional Student Outreach Program

- Please note that performances and dates subject to change. -

Two communities now under water restrictions

But Pine at Stage 1 for Memorial Day weekend

Two communities whose water is provided by Brooke Utilities are under conservation restrictions.

Mesa del Caballo is and has been under Stage 3 restrictions and it may soon be necessary to begin hauling water according to Brooke.  The company will buy water from the Town of Payson and truck it to Mesa del from a hydrant at The Home Depot. 

The Forest Service is still considering whether to allow a temporary aboveground pipeline to transfer water to Mesa del. 

The other community to experience restrictions this holiday weekend is Flowing Springs, which was placed under Stage 2 restrictions Monday, May 31.

Meanwhile, Pine, for many years the community in the Rim Country with the most acute water shortage issues, is at Stage 1 this weekend.  The Pine and Strawberry water systems were recently acquired from Brooke by the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

World War II hero: 'You do what you have to do'

U.S. Marine Tobe Cogswell at Gaudalcanal.
By Mitzi Brabb
Connection Correspondent

On December 7, 1941 an unexpected event shook this nation, and it touched the heart of every American. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor brought about an overwhelming yearning among Americans to prevail against the enemy of their time.

Thousands of men were compelled to join the war effort after the attack. Rim Country resident Tobe Cogswell, a young man of 24 on that day, remembers the incident well.

“Recruiters were busy as hell that Monday,” he said.

Cogswell was one of those men, ready to give up everything to fight to protect his country and everything important to him. After tying up a few loose ends at the Connecticut based machine shop he worked at, which was already involved in the war effort, he spent some time with his gal Roberta before heading to the recruitment office.

There was one more thing he needed to do. Hoping it wouldn’t be his last visit, Cogswell made a trip to California to see his mother.

On Jan. 6, 1942, he enlisted in the United States Marines, knowing that they would be the first to see action. He was sent to basic training at Paris Island in South Carolina. He expected to receive three months training, but found himself on the way to the front sooner than he expected.

“We did it in five weeks,” he said. “Then we were sent up to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.”

Cogswell was placed in intelligence, and began to study maps, providing the head of the Headquarters and Services, First Marine Regiment with combat information. That unit sailed from San Francisco on June 21, 1942 and got to Wellington, New Zealand some three weeks later.

There, they expected to receive additional training, but their orders were changed and they had to reload their ship with combat gear – they were heading for war. In fact, they were headed for a place that would take its place in American history as one of the most perilous details for soldiers in World War II - Guadalcanal.

One can imagine how this group of young, green men in their early 20s, some even younger, must have felt before going into battle.

“You do what you have to do. We just took everything as it came,” he said, with a proud smile.

By the morning of Aug. 7, Cogswell’s regiment had reached the Solomon Islands. Their first experience of the war came when U.S. Navy ships shelled the coastline. By dusk they arrived at the main island of Guadalcanal without opposition.

Cogswell remembers the calmness during his first few days ashore, despite being shelled by Japanese naval guns and planes.

“Most of the Japanese forces on the island were Korean laborers building an airfield. They weren’t really a threat,” said Cogswell.

On Aug. 8, allied warships that were screening transports unloading supplies were surprised and defeated by a Japanese task force of seven cruisers and one destroyer.

However, the really big naval battle took place two nights later on Aug. 10 near Savo Island. It resulted in the sinking of four allied cruisers. Another cruiser and two destroyers were also damaged in the battle.

“The Navy pulled off and left us,” Cogswell said.

Though food rations were low, Cogswell’s unit, as well as other Marines at Guadalcanal, spent the next few weeks forming a defensive perimeter around the Lunga Point Airfield. Cogswell was in charge of three other men on an intelligence crew on the west bank of the Tenaru River.

Before dawn on Aug. 21, 1942, the Japanese attacked the positions of the Second Battalion, First Marines at this point. Cogswell’s intelligence team was at an observation post when they were attacked by approximately 1,000 Japanese soldiers with hand grenades, machine guns and bayonets.

The Japanese attack was repulsed with great loss.

At daybreak, marine units counterattacked Japanese Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki’s surviving troops. Of the original 917 members of Ichiki’s unit, all but 128 men were killed in the battle.

Cogswell and two other members of his team were wounded in the attack. The unwounded member made his way back through “the bullet swept zone” to the command post to report the attack.

A letter of commendation from Cogswell’s commanding officer reads: “These men, rather than withdrawing toward the rear, as was warranted by their line of duty, took position on the front lines with those Marines already entrenched there, engaged in a furious hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, and drove them back with great losses, preventing them from establishing a foothold on the western side of the Tenaru River.”

All these men were recommended for the Navy Cross but were awarded the Silver Star, which is the third highest decoration for action in battle. Cogswell also received a Purple Heart for his wounds during the battle.

Cogswell, who was wounded by a sniper, went to New Zealand for treatment while he recovered from bullet wounds. Afterwards, he returned to active duty on Guadalcanal.

On January 9, 1946, his tenure with the Marines ended.

Afterwards, he went into the printing business, and continued to work in that industry for the next 27 years.

The most rewarding element of the return to civilian life for Cogswell was reuniting with Roberta, whom he had married during a leave in July of 1944. Devoted to each other for 67 years, Cogswell still remembers fondly the letters his sweetheart wrote to him daily during the war.

In 1980, they retired from Scottsdale, and moved to Payson.

Today Cogswell is a member of the Marine Corps League of Payson, and belongs to an elite group of WWII Campaign Veterans who served at Guadalcanal between August 1942 and February 1943.

On Memorial Day in particular, we should all remember the people in our community, along with those across the country, who made the sacrifices to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Goddard urges feds not to file immigration lawsuit

(Phoenix, Ariz. -- May 28, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today urged lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department not to file a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law.

In a meeting at the Attorney General’s Office, Goddard told the federal government’s lawyers that Arizona “needs solutions not lawsuits.” He said that if the federal government decides to bring a lawsuit, “Arizona will fight back.” The new law will take effect July 29.

The Justice Department lawyers came to Phoenix to meet with state officials as a precursor to possibly filing a suit that would challenge the constitutionality of the law, also known as Senate Bill 1070. The federal lawyers made clear that no final decision has been made about filing a suit. Five challenges to the law have already been brought by private plaintiffs.

Goddard will defend the State and himself in the lawsuits. In addition, Goddard today intervened on behalf of the State in a suit brought by a large group of plaintiffs against county officials challenging SB 1070.

Rather than bringing additional litigation, Goddard again urged the Obama Administration to implement comprehensive border reform.

"The people of Arizona are deeply frustrated by the federal government's inability to enact comprehensive immigration reform," he said. "It is time for members of Congress to stop dithering, stop playing partisan politics and address the problem."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Payson OKs IGA selling Star Valley its own wells

By Matt Brabb
Connection Editor

The Payson Town Council voted unanimously to authorize the sale of three wells to the town of Star Valley during last week’s regular meeting. The wells lay within the town boundaries of Star Valley.

The Tower Well, which has been at the heart of the friction between the two towns, was not included among the wells Payson offered to sell.

The proposal appears to be the Payson version of the culmination of the negotiations that the two towns agreed to undertake to conclude an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) regarding water rights back in February.

Representatives from the town of Star Valley declined to comment on the progress of the negotiations.

There were three main objectives contained within the proposed IGA. First, the town of Payson would strive to provide an emergency backup water supply for Star Valley. Second, it would sell and transfer the rights to groundwater wells which potentially draw water from the Star Valley aquifer. And third, it would attempt to develop an agreement which would mutually and respectively limit withdrawals beneath Star Valley that would not exceed an agreed upon yield.

The proposal passed by the Payson Town Council did, in fact, touch on all three objectives.

In section 8.6 of the resolution passed last week, Payson agreed to provide a backup water supply for Star Valley in the event of an emergency or a planned water outage. Further, they agreed to “provide the appropriate agreement, contingency plan, and any drawings needed.”

The second objective, that of transferring water rights to Star Valley from Payson by means of existing wells controlled by Payson within Star Valley was also dealt with. Payson is offering to sell three wells to Star Valley for $99,201. In order to buy wells PW-1 and PW-2, Star Valley must agree to pump no more than 323 acre-feet of water combined between the two wells. To purchase the Pinegate Well, Star Valley will be limited to pumping no more than 57 acre-feet per year.

The question as to why the town of Payson would put restrictions on how much water Star Valley would be allowed to pump from wells that exist within the boundaries of Star Valley is unclear. Indeed, there is some question as to whether the town of Star Valley will have access to PW-1 and PW-2 due to easement constraints.

The third objective of the IGA, coming up with an agreeable limit to the amount of water that the town of Payson will be allowed to draw from the Star Valley aquifer (not to exceed an agreed upon quantity), resulted in no change to existing conditions.

Section 8.2 of the proposal states that “Payson agrees not to pump water from the Tower Well at a rate in excess of 530 gallons per minute annualized, and not to exceed 855 acre-feet per year in production.”

The limit of 530 gpm, and the 855 acre-feet per year were the original limitations placed on Payson when rights to water via the Tower Well were purchased by the town in 2006.

Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and Payson Water Department Manager Buzz Walker have both acknowledged that reducing the figure of 855 acre-feet per year, a number that accounts for nearly one-third of Payson’s safe yield water supply until water from the CC Cragin Pipeline arrives in 2015, would be legally impossible.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Celebration of Life for Marjorie Nichols is June 1

Marjorie Nichols
1914 - 2010

Marjorie Nichols, 96, of Payson, Ariz. passed away May 24, 2010. She was born May 4, 1914 in Glen Bernie, Md.

Marjorie is survived by her three sons, Richard Nichols of Star Valley, Ariz., Steve Nichols of Payson, and Mark Nichols of Glendale, Ariz., her brother George Macey of Preston, Md., 8 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

Marjorie was a member of Ponderosa Baptist Church in Payson.  She was manager of Macey’s Flowers and Plants in Glen Bernie. Her hobbies included flower arranging and painting.

A Celebration of Life will be held June 1, 2010 at 10:30 a.m., at the Ponderosa Baptist Church,1800 N. Beeline Hwy, Payson. The family requests any donations be made to the Ponderosa Baptist Benevolent Fund in care of the same address.

All highways a go over Memorial Day weekend

PHOENIX – If you have plans to head out on Arizona’s highways over the Memorial Day weekend, the Arizona Department of Transportation has some welcome news.

No construction-related closures are scheduled along state highways, including Phoenix area freeways, over the extended holiday weekend. That includes Friday afternoon (May 28) when many holiday travelers take to the road.

There’s also good news for drivers who use Interstate 17 to travel in or out of the Phoenix area. ADOT recently completed the final stage of rubberized asphalt paving along what is now a much wider stretch of I-17 between Loop 101 and Anthem Way in the north Phoenix region. That work completed projects to expand I-17 to four lanes in each direction between Loop 101 and Carefree Highway and to three lanes in each direction between Carefree Highway and Anthem Way.

Highway travel between the Phoenix area and Las Vegas has improved with the new US 93 interim bypass route in Wickenburg. The bypass, linking US 60 and US 93, has reduced travel time by shifting traffic from the previously congested local streets in the downtown Wickenburg area.

ADOT urges drivers to be prepared in the event of any unscheduled highway restrictions over the holiday weekend. Drivers are asked to follow these safety tips before and during any road trips this summer:

Buckle Up
Be Patient and Don’t Speed
Use Extra Caution in Existing Work Zones
Never Drink and Drive
Check Your Vehicle, Including Tire Pressure
Get Some Rest Before Your Trip
Check Highway Conditions at www.az511.gov

ADOT has joined with the State Department of Public Safety and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in asking drivers to focus on safe driving over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer driving season.

THIS RANT JUST IN...

We knew you'd want to read this now, so we're running it as THE LONE RANT...

OMG, what a spectacle last night's meeting of PSWID (Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District) was. Resignations by the hydrologist, engineer, and staff personnel. Loud accusations made about the Board's fiduciary responsibilities, decision making, and discontent with Harry Jones (finally). Finger pointing, blame for everyone - just like the good ol' Brooke days. It was nearly a fist fight of the highest most embarassing magnitude. No one is happy and it's not even summer yet. What a mess. Nobody trusts anyone else and not a single additional drop of water has been provided. Somewhere, Hardcastle (if he pays any attention to this anymore) must be laughing his head off.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THE BEAR IS BACK...

AND BEARS DON'T LIE!

Pick up your FREE copy of the Mogollon  Connection at the Rim Country's finer retail establishments, including Bashas', Safeway, The Beverage Place, and WalMart.

In this week's issue:

o Individual photos of PHS Class of 2010
o Water deal between Payson and Star Valley
o Memorial Day weekend schedule
o Local hero remembers World War II
o The Babe leaves canine legacy

Support truthful journalism.  Read the Connection.

RANT & RAVE: Posted May 26, 2010

Editor’s note: Each week we print a selection of anonymous rants and raves submitted by our readers. Keep them under 250 words, free of profanity and personal attacks, and have at it. You need not sign your submission, which you may e-mail to peoplesgazette@gmail.com or mail to Gazette Editor, 7736 N. Toya Vista Road, Payson, AZ 85541. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Gazette staff.  And don’t forget to visit BY THE PEOPLE. Just click on the right. You can leave your comments on any subject there as well.

So the most racist state in the nation is at it again. We didn’t learn our lesson back when we refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday – costing us millions in lost convention and tourism business. Now it’s Gov. Brewer’s anti-immigration idiocy. If you think the economy was bad in Arizona before, wait till we feel the full effects of her stupid racist move. We are truly the land of right wingnuts.

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We must fight back and restore common-sense leadership in Arizona. Let’s start by boycotting Jan Brewer and electing fair-minded Democrats who will never let measures like SB1070 see the light of day.

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That was an awful big sign “Taxed Enough Already” that a Tea Party person was holding up on the front page of the Roundup. Lady, you don’t appear, with your lovely beauty shop hairstyle and fingernails to be on the list of impending job layoffs. Are you sure you can’t afford a 1 cent increase in sales tax dedicated to education and public safety?

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We are forced to agree with the Republicans on the Mexico border control of the drug traffic and deadly violence that has invaded Arizona. Our home in Star Valley was broken into twice by undocumented aliens. We had to move. The police were unable to protect us.

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If the Roundup staff doesn’t yet understand that a sizable percentage of this community doesn’t trust them, that’s really sad. And that would appear to be the case because they continue to do the things that make people not trust them. Writing onesided stories that favor the incumbents and unchecked growth. And doing petty things to harm the competition – like calling advertisers and giving them a hard time for being in the Mogollon Connection, and getting angry with freelance photographers for sharing their photos with both papers. We have more than one restaurant. We have more than one pharmacy. Why don’t they get it that it’s OK to have more than one newspaper. A local newspaper needs to be on the side of the community – on the side of its readers, not the people who stand to profit at their expense. The Roundup is not, and that’s troubling.

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Have you noticed that all the Roundup stories about Kenny the Who bringing ASU to Payson have one thing in common – they’re all about Kenny making claims that he has this in place and that in place without verification from an outside source. Now Kenny is claiming he has $500 million up for this venture. If it were true, he belongs on Wall Street. Come on Pete, ask the tough questions. Ask to see the money. Talk to people who have dealt with the mayor in the past about his veracity. Give us some responsible journalism.

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Has anyone else noticed that Pete Aleshire doesn’t talk unless Mayor Kenny Evans is in the room. And you thought ventriloquism went out with Vaudeville.

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Your Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce is at it again with its list of sponsors for the upcoming Sawdust Festival. Why weren’t the rest of us invited to participate? When will the chamber get a board that represents all its members instead of just John Naughton and the rest of the good ole boys who serve on it.

World War II Navy pilot Sorensen is dead at 90

Ronald Sorensen
1920 - 2010

Ron Sorensen was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Feb. 19, 1920, and passed away in Payson, Ariz.on May 25, 2010.

He moved to California with his mother, father, brother and sister at an early age. He attended school in Alhambra and college in Pasadena.

He joined the navy during World War II and was a pilot stationed in the South Atlantic. He retired from Rocketdyne and moved to Payson.

His biggest love has always been his family. His hobbies included rebuilding his 1950 MG and his home built Falco airplane.

He is survived by Virginia, his wife of 54 years, his children Mike and Paula Sorensen, Mark Sorensen and Stacy and Curtis Palace, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services for the family will be at a later date.

Fire restrictions in place at some wildlife areas

PHOENIX – If you are visiting the state’s diverse outdoors this Memorial Day holiday weekend, keep in mind that some agencies have implemented fire restrictions, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD).

For the latest updates on fire restrictions in Arizona, visit the Public Lands Information Center at http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.

The Game and Fish Department has implemented restrictions at:

* Alamo Lake Wildlife Area;
* Aravaipa Wildlife Area;
* Arlington Wildlife Area;
* Base and Meridian Wildlife Area;
* Colorado River Nature Center Wildlife Area;
* Mittry Lake Wildlife Area;
* Powers Butte Wildlife Area;
* Quigley Wildlife Area;
* Robbins Butte Wildlife Area;
* Three Bar Wildlife Area;
* Upper Verde Wildlife Area;

In those affected wildlife areas, no open fires are allowed – including charcoal-burning barbecues. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, is prohibited. However, you can still use gas and propane stoves, lanterns or heating devices.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goddard gets commitment to troops on border

(Phoenix, Ariz. -- May 25, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard announced today that he has been informed by high-ranking administration officials that President Barack Obama will ask Congress for a $500 million supplemental appropriation for enhanced border security and will immediately deploy National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The $500 million appropriation will fund additional law enforcement personnel and state of the art border technology, Goddard said. Details of both decisions have not been released but will be announced soon.

"These decisions are extremely important in the fight against border crime as recommended in my letter to the President last month," Goddard said. "I have been calling for these actions for more than a year, and I'm pleased the Administration is listening."

Rye's fun, feisty icon Don Garvin is dead at 79

Don Garvin
1930 - 2010
 
Donald Dwight Garvin, 79, born Sept. 13, 1930 to George and Bertha Garvin of South Dakota, passed away on May 14, 2010 surrounded by his three children, Danell Ann (Loy) of Payson, Ariz.; Donna Louise Cox) of Gilbert, Ariz. and Donald John Garvin of Payson.

Don also survived by family members Box Cox, Wayne Loy, Darlene Garvin and Lori Franks. Don was loved by his 5 grandchildren, Whitney Kay Loy of Vermont, Keaton Wayne Loy of Payson, Michael Conner Cox and Kate Marie Cox both of Gilbert and Daxtin Douglas Garvin of Payson.

Don was born in Chancellor, South Dakota. He learned his work ethic through farming with his family. His love for gardening and raising animals continued throughout his life.

After high school Don went to barber school and held a few miscellaneous jobs like selling stoves and singing in a quartet until he enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving in the Korean War.

Don moved to Arizona in 1955 where he and his father started Garvin’s RV in Tempe. He moved to Payson in 1979 and reestablished his RV business on Main Street. He then moved the business to his beloved Rye, Ariz.

Don was known for his zest for life. He helped many people throughout the years. He was notorious for telling stories and always had a joke. In spirit, we will have a celebration of life at Jake’s Corner on Saturday, June 5, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Midwest political tone less harsh, bitter than us


(Sharon and I have just completed a four day, three night drive from Columbia, S.C. to back home here in Payson, Ariz.  Part 2 of 3.)

Tennessee is one of the widest states. On its south, it borders a part of North Carolina, and all of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. In other words, it’s pretty much a day trip.

We left Ringold, Ga. around 8 a.m., and after a hearty McDonald’s breakfast to go, we headed west, hoping to make Memphis or beyond by nightfall.

Highway 64 is an excellent road, much like an Interstste highway except in places where construction is going on to improve it. We could drive for miles at the full speed limit, but then slow to a crawl for a stretch. Even with the interruptions, we made excellent time and arrived at the outskirts of Memphis well before dark, so we decided to go on into Arkansas and get as close to Little Rock as we could.

The further you go west, the more the land becomes relatively flat, making it ideal farm country. Large corporate crop and livestock farms become more and more prominent the further west you go. In Tennessee, however, and to a degree in Arkansas, relatively small family farms are still in operation. It’s now hundreds of acres instead of 40 or 50, perhaps, but the tradition appears to be alive and well in many areas. Cattle raising probably outweighs vegetable crops to a degree, except where corn is farmed for feed.

Homes are brightly painted and yards are well trimmed. Barns and silos look to be well maintained. Tractors and other equipment still show a lot of John Deere green. On the surface, at least, America’s Heartland is still a proud and well maintained area.

When we did stop, we heard only the mild kinds of protests you might expect against taxes, big spending and government farm programs. We both noted that there didn’t seem to be the harsh, bitter tone, the inflammatory anti-government raving one seems to hear from eastern and western big cities. Perhaps there is more time on a farm to think through and sort out important issues.

Farmers are used to operating in debt for much of the year in hopes of paying it off and getting a small positive return. Their equipment is typically mortgaged for at least a five year term, often more - usually until about the time it wears out and new gear is needed. Large debt is a way of life. Managing the debt and return are what concerns farmers.

People are very much informed, though. Whenever it was discovered that we were from Arizona, our state's new immigration bill was brought up. Most were in favor, but there was a concern that honest cheap labor will be adversely affected. Short conversations don’t usually tell the whole story, but these themes were relatively uniform wherever we went.

We stopped for the night in the small community of Hazen, Ark. The area has been hard hit economically because of a slow down in tourism. Only one restaurant was open - a Mexican cantina run by a local family. We assumed, and didn’t ask whether they were legal. The place was clean and cheerful. The waiter spoke perfect English with only a trace of an accent. He was a son of the owners and had only recently graduated from a local junior college.

The food here turned out to be some of the finest true Mexican-style we have ever encountered. Everything was very fresh and perfectly seasoned, beginning with the salsa and freshly made crispy tortilla chips. Fresh tomatoes, onion, cumin and cilantro were perfectly blended with a light touch of mild peppers - we cleaned the bowl. Sharon ordered quesadilla’s with grilled chicken, a perfect amount of excellent cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole on the side and Spanish rice. I had a large burrito filled also with grilled chicken and an assortment of superb veggies and sauce. The chicken was all breast meat, marinated and perfectly open-fire grilled. Everything tasted as if it had just been freshly made just for us.

Sharon had iced tea, but I had a Corona which came with a frosted mug and a slice of fresh juicy lime. It was Mexican, not Tex-Mex, and it was wonderful. If you ever find yourself in Hazen, you must stop and dine at Locos Lobos - arguably the best Mexican restaurant we have ever enjoyed. Go figure.

The next morning, we were pleasantly surprised when we realized that we had entered a different time zone, so this actually gave us an extra hour of travel time. The weather ahead in Oklahoma was beginning to be a concern - heavy rain, hail and even tornadoes, so we heard. Maybe we could get through the worst areas without incident. The car was holding up beautifully, and we were somewhat ahead of schedule, so away we went.

(Next week: Noble and Sharon conclude their journey.)

Exciting summer offerings at GCC-Payson

Gila Community College will be offering Photoshop and Digital Photography classes this Summer Session.

ART 128, Beginning Digital Photography,
Mon & Tues 8-11:50 am, with D. Trimble.

ART 287, Digital Imaging/Photoshop,
Tues & Thurs, 8-11:50 am, with J. Herford.

There is still time to register for Yoga classes, and/or a new Zumba Gold class this summer.

The Yoga class will be MTWTh 10-10:50 am.
The Physioball class will by MTWTh 9-9:50 am.

The ZUMBA® Gold Fitness program is designed for the active adult, the true beginner, people who are not used to exercising, and/or people who may be limited physically. The main difference between ZUMBA Gold and ZUMBA Basic is that ZUMBA Gold is done at a lower intensity, not as fast, but it certainly is as fun. The same great Latin styles of music and dance are used. In 50 minutes, you will get a safe and effective total body workout while maintaining the party atmosphere of a regular ZUMBA class.

HPE 101AJ Beginning Aerobics I – Zumba Gold Latin Fitness Plus
MTWTh 8-8:50 am June 1-July 26.

It is also not too late to register for summer quilting classes.

7767FCR 132Quilting* (Hand Quilting)1  Th8-11:50 am  6/1-7/26  D Tatsch

7766FCR 132Quilting* (Clothing Construction)1  W10 am-1:50 pm  6/1-7/26  L Peacock

7765FCR 134Advanced Quilting* (Clothing Constructuion)1W10 am-1:50 pm6/1-7/26L Peacock

Summer classes begin June 1.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New mortgage laws better protect homeowners

My Turn

By Terry Goddard
Arizona Attorney General

Arizona will soon have two new laws that I fought for this session to help crack down on deceptive and predatory lending businesses that prey on struggling homeowners.

The measures will take effect July 29.

A key priority for my Office was the elimination of upfront fees for mortgage modifications. SB1130, sponsored by Sen. John Nelson, does just that. Prior to the passage of this bill, mortgage modification advisers could exploit homeowners’ by charging enormous upfront fees and preying on their fears over the risk of foreclosure.

The new law bans upfront fees, but requires foreclosure consultants to fully disclose the terms and costs of their services. It also provides an important three-day right of cancellation. Violators who engage in fraud or deceit now can be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

I also called for a new law to protect seniors from scams associated with reverse mortgages. HB 2242, sponsored by Rep. Bill Konopnicki, extends the protection currently under federal law to a new class of reverse mortgages.

A reverse mortgage lets the homeowner convert a portion of the home’s equity into cash and typically requires no repayment for as long as the homeowner lives in the home. The cash can be paid to the homeowner all at once, as a regular monthly advance, or at times and in amounts agreed to by the homeowner and creditor. These loans can be helpful to cash-strapped homeowners, if the terms are fair and fully understandable.

Under the new law, homeowners now must get better information explaining the mortgage in detail before they can be bound to the mortgage terms. In addition, the law ensures that the borrower not pay any unnecessary costs for obtaining the reverse mortgage, including any costs of estate planning, financial advice or related fees.

With these two new laws on the books, Arizona has more tools in the fight against mortgage scams that have hurt both homeowners and the housing market. Protecting Arizona residents and keeping them in their homes helps stabilize our communities and neighborhoods. I have instructed my prosecutors to be vigilant in prosecuting bad actors and fraudulent foreclosure “rescue” businesses that seek to rip off homeowners.

While the legislature did other things this session that set Arizona back in many ways, I’m pleased with my Office’s legislative efforts to protect Arizona homeowners in these economically challenging times.

Blasting rescheduled on 260 east of Star Valley

Wednesday’s detonation now set for Thursday

PAYSON – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will close a two-mile segment of Arizona State Route 260 15 miles east of Payson at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 27. The roadway will be closed for 45 minutes to provide a safe work zone for crews as they conduct blasting operations on a project to widen the highway.

Eastbound traffic will be stopped at approximately milepost 265 and westbound traffic will be stopped at approximately milepost 267.

Blasting will continue two or three days per week for the next several months as ADOT works to transform the two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided highway from Little Green Valley to Thompson Draw.
Drivers can expect delays of up to 45 minutes and should allow extra time to reach their destinations. Speed limits are reduced and a width restriction of 10 feet is in place. Message boards, temporary barricades, and signage will guide motorists through the work zone.

ADOT advises drivers to slow down, be alert for workers and heavy equipment, and anticipate delays as construction continues until fall 2011.

Information regarding the project is available on the toll-free project hotline at 1-877-521-1118. Weekly construction e-updates are available at prescottdistrictupdates@azdot.gov.

While ADOT strives to inform the public about planned roadway restrictions, during any construction project there is a possibility that unscheduled closures or restrictions may occur. Drivers are advised to visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1 for the most current information about restrictions statewide.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

'Robin Hood' an action adventure for grownups

Robin Hood

By Andy McKinney
Gazette Connection Film Critic

This week audiences across the fruited plain have been given a beautiful movie, an action adventure for grownups. It remains to be seen if this will be a successful venture or not. If it succeeds, it will be due to the unusual concentration of high-grade talent at all levels of the effort.

The script by Brian Helgeland is unimpeachable. He wrote such important and well-received films as “L.A. Confidential,” also featuring Russell Crowe. Director Ridley Scott is known for building beautifully filmed, breathtaking big screen epics. In “Robin Hood” he combines the grand sweep with intimate close ups that allow the fabulous cast of veteran actors to display the full pallet of their skills. The battle scenes are first rate.

Russell Crowe plays Robin as a fiercely honorable warrior in a time when honor comes at a terrible price. He is matched by Cate Blanchett as Marion. Blanchett is a striking actress rather than a beautiful, decorative young thing and brings depth and soul to her role. Max von Sydow plays her father in law and William Hurt appears as William Marshal, known historically as the greatest knight to ever live. Having actors with such experience and reputation to adorn a film is right thinking, giving them something useful to do - as writer Helgeland and director Scott do - is just short of genius.

That said, is it apparent that I liked this film very much? The film brings little that is fresh, if we accept the story line. The story begins just before the death of King Richard at a foolish siege in France and introduces the Robin character as a soldier returning from the Holy Land. He assumes the identity of Marion’s dead husband.

There is a scene where the helpless peasants are herded into a building, trapped and the building set on fire, a la “The Patriot.” Scott has even taken a shot from the 1991 version of “Robin Hood” when Crowe fires an arrow in extreme close up. At least he took good stuff from good movies.

This PG 13 epic will need to find its audience in order to make back its $155 million budget. It has the spectacle of “Brave Heart” and the sophistication of “L.A Confidential.” The three and a half saw blade movie runs a good value at two and a half hours.

“Prince of Persia ”, a swashbuckler aimed at a younger group, is coming soon. “Jonah Hex” will be appearing this summer. There is a local connection to this comic based flick.

I hope to see you at the Sawmill soon.

Memorial Day events scheduled in Rim Country

The theme of this year's Memorial Day presentations is "Payson Remembers."

All citizens are invited to join friends and neighbors to remember those who have died in our nation's service and to honor those who have defended, and continue to defend, the standards and values upon which our country was founded.

This year's program will consist of four separate tributes:

1. THE ANNUAL PIONEER CEMETERY TRIBUTE WHICH WILL BEGIN AT 10 A.M. AT PAYSON’S PIONEER CEMETERY ON SATURDAY, 29 MAY.


2. THE ANNUAL MOUNTAIN MEADOWS TRIBUTE WHICH WILL BEGIN AT APPROXIMATELY 10 A.M. AT THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS CEMETERY IN ROUND VALLEY ON SUNDAY, 30 MAY. THIS TRIBUTE IS SPONSORED BY MESSENGERS FUNERAL HOME AND SUPPORTED BY THE PAYSON PATRIOTIC EVENTS COMMITTEE, THE VFW AND THE AMERICAN LEGION.


3. A FLAG RAISING CEREMONY AT THE MAZATZAL CASINO FLAGPOLE WHICH BEGINS AT 8 A.M. ON MONDAY, 31 MAY WITH PATRIOTIC MUSIC FOLLOWED BY AN APPROPRIATE CEREMONY AND PROGRAM.


4. A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE AT PAYSON’S GREEN VALLEY PARK WHICH WILL BEGIN AT THE VETERANS MEMORIAL ON MONDAY, 31 MAY AT APPROXIMATELY 10 A.M. THIS PROGRAM IS PRESENTED BY THE PAYSON PATRIOTIC EVENTS COMMITTEE AND WILL INCLUDE: PATRIOTIC MUSICAL PRESENTATIONS; A PRESENTATION OF THE COLORS; AN ADDRESS BY THE MAYOR OF PAYSON FOLLOWED BY GUEST SPEAKERS; A TRIBUTE BY THE PAYSON MILITARY HONOR GUARD WHICH WILL INCLUDE A RIFLE SALUTE AND TAPS; A MOVING BAGPIPE RENDITION OF “AMAZING GRACE”; A MOMENT OF SILENT REFLECTION FOR OUR VETERNS PAST AND PRESENT; AND MUCH MORE.

Memorial Day is proclaimed as a national holiday set aside to remember those who have paid the supreme sacrifice and to honor our veterans and members of the armed forces for service to our country. You are encouraged to join with your fellow Americans and participate by attending these events.

Medicare Part D beneficiaries will save 50 percent

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued new guidance to Part D plan sponsors to guarantee that Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D prescription drug plans will see 50 percent savings on their brand name and some authorized generic drugs when they enter the coverage gap, or donut hole, during 2011.

In a notice in the Federal Register, CMS also issued the draft model agreement that drug manufacturers of applicable Part D drugs will sign in order to participate in the discount program. These agreements with manufacturers represent an unprecedented partnership to help millions of Medicare beneficiaries. Discounts will apply when the beneficiary reaches the coverage gap. Eligible beneficiaries will see the discount when they buy their drugs at their local pharmacy counter.

CMS will host a public meeting on June 1 to discuss and collect public feedback about the draft manufacturer agreement, and to gather feedback about the final Part D guidance released today. As part of the June 1 meeting, CMS is encouraging drug manufacturers, Part D plan sponsors, and representatives from the beneficiary advocacy community to provide input and comments. All stakeholders can register online at: http://cmsconference.hcmsllc.com/Conf06012010/register.aspx

Closing the coverage gap is an important part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 signed by President Barack Obama earlier this year, beginning with a one-time check for $250 in 2010 for those that reach the donut hole in 2010 and are not eligible for low-income assistance, the 50 percent discount for brand-name and some authorized generic drugs beginning in 2011 and additional savings until drugs are covered throughout the coverage the gap by 2020.

“The documents we are releasing today facilitate the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions to help Medicare beneficiaries with the high costs of their prescription medicines,” said CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare Jonathan Blum.

The Part D plan guidance released today was finalized after receiving comments on the draft guidance that was issued on April 30. This guidance clarifies how the discount program will be implemented and that CMS will coordinate the manufacturers’ reimbursement for discount payments that Part D sponsors provide on their behalf to applicable beneficiaries under this program through a third-party administrative contractor. The third-party administrator will also help to verify the accuracy of the manufacturer discounts reported by Part D sponsors.

For more information on this program, see the Federal Register notice that will be displayed on May 21, 2010 at: http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-12559_PI.pdf
Or visit http://www.federalregister.gov/inspection.aspx

High winds, blowing dust close I-40 east of Flag

HOLBROOK – A combination of high winds and blowing dust have again prompted the closure of Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has closed the highway from milepost 219 to milepost 252 due to near-zero visibility and high winds.

The westbound closure at milepost 252 is in Winslow and traffic is being diverted into the city. The eastbound closure at milepost 219 is at the Twin Arrows Interchange, where traffic is being turned around.

The National Weather Service is predicting strong gusting winds into the evening. Drivers should expect long delays and take alternative routes where possible.

Closures of I-40 can last hours due to the nature of the storms. In the past, similar conditions have been strong enough to cause high-profile vehicles to be blown over. Blowing dust has reduced visibility to near zero. With the ongoing storm, ADOT crews are closely monitoring conditions.

Drivers planning trips along I-40 today are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1.888.411.ROAD outside the state, or via the Web at www.az511.gov. Because weather conditions can quickly evolve, drivers are encouraged to regularly check in with ADOT’s Traveler Information Service. Motorists should delay or detour travel plans if necessary.

ADOT, along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, will continue to work as a public safety team to support Arizona’s highways and drivers and will closely monitor conditions on I-40 while maintaining driver safety. I-40 is a critical national corridor for commercial traffic and there are few other alternatives across Northern Arizona.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friends, family gather to celebrate Ed Schwebel

Photo by Bill Huddleston
Friends, neighbors and family members release balloons with special messages to Ed Schwebel at a private celebration of his life last Saturday evening.  Ed, a 63-year-old resident of Mesa del Caballo, died suddenly in a tragic accident.

Not easy being brown, except for chocolate

Forget about green. These days, it’s not easy being brown – especially if you live in Arizona.

Unless you’re a white person with a real dark tan. And even then you’re in danger of being mistaken for a Mexican after dark.

Arizona’s brand new immigration law, which critics say will lead to racial profiling, has caused a nationwide furor. Police are now required to stop anyone they suspect might be here illegally and demand they prove otherwise. If you look Mexican and forget your wallet, critics say, you’ll go to jail.

Famous people like Al Sharpton and Danny Glover are coming here to lead protests. Television talk show hosts are having a field day. Even the Suns and Diamondbacks have joined in the fray.

As an innocent bystander, I say maybe it’s time to step back, take a deep breath, and try to look at the whole mess from a fresh perspective.

Let me say right up front that I understand some of the fears that led our state to this very uncomfortable place. How illegal immigrants are taking jobs from legitimate citizens. How they’re utilizing medical and other services that we end up subsidizing. How porous borders lead to criminal acts, up to and including an increased risk of terrorism. How we Arizonans, because of our geographic proximity to Mexico, have suffered more than most from all of the above.

But I also understand the human side. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but I have to wonder if God really meant for us to create these artificial boundaries that can keep an entire people mired in poverty. Don’t cross this line, even to feed your family, seems a little harsh.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with Mexicans. In fact, I can’t remember a negative encounter.

Of course, coming from Michigan my experience is limited. Before I moved to Arizona 30 years ago, I was only aware of one Mexican family – and they, as you might imagine, stayed pretty much to themselves.

Back then there were no Mexican restaurants in Michigan. Not even a Taco Bell. I had never heard of Cinco de Mayo. And Felice Navidad could have been Greek for all we knew.

If there was any evidence of Mexico in Michigan back then, it was pretty much limited to those statues of a guy wearing a big sombrero taking a siesta, his plaster donkey waiting patiently by his side.

The Consort, on the other hand, has spent a lot of time in Mexico, especially Rocky Point, and she absolutely loves the Mexican people. Innocent enough. And I suspect your experiences are similar.

So how have we Arizonans managed to again become the brunt of bad jokes and angry protests? Recalling the brouhaha over our state’s reluctance to observe Martin Luther King’s birthday, the question, I guess, is why do we Arizonans keep putting ourselves in this place?

Is there something about our desert psyche that makes us gluttons for ridicule? Have we been out in the sun too long? Is it our fiercely independent, maverick nature that results in a John Wayne/Clint Eastwood mentality.

Or are our governors and legislators more interested in getting re-elected than anything else? If that’s the case, they best be careful. We the people of Arizona are fairly divided, although polls do indicate a slight majority in favor of the new bill.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure it makes me more likely to vote for these clowns. I kind of feel like I’m being taken along on a ride I really didn’t ask for.

A part of me believes we’re being miscast as villains. Not too long ago, Arizona was the only state whose top three elected officials were women. I can remember my brother in San Francisco expressing his amazement.

Of course, Arizona has always tilted to the right, but less so all the time. And most of us would agree that Mexican culture has infinitely enriched life in Arizona. The music. The food. The color.

The one big exception is the luminarias that Arizonans put out at Christmas time (although The Consort suspects they might have originated in New Mexico). All I can say is if God wanted us to put candles in paper bags, he wouldn’t have named them lunch bags.

They are the lawn fashion equivalent of those plastic pink flamingos your Aunt Hazel has lining the driveway to her park model in Florida. (Disclaimer: The Consort disagrees with me about luminarias – and plastic pink flamingos.)

Anyway, the Christian thing to do is to think of others instead of ourselves. I wouldn’t want to be a Mexican in Arizona these days – even a legal one. As I said, it’s not easy being brown.

Therefore I propose we show our solidarity for things brown in an apolitical way – by eating more chocolate.

And actually that could help alleviate some of feelings of persecution associated with being an Arizona resident these days. Because, according to a University of California study (leave it to those hedonistic Californians to study chocolate), adults who are severely depressed devour an average of 12 one-ounce servings of chocolate a month – the equivalent of about 75 Hershey’s Kisses or 4.7 of those big chocolate Easter bunnies – the hollow kind.

Did all that chocolate help their depression? Not really, according to the study. But if you’re looking for an excuse to indulge, we think you can make the case.

Just be careful not to get it on your face and hands – and then go out on the street after dark.

Connection picking up readers, momentum

EDITORIAL

By Matt Brabb
Connection Editor

So how are we doing so far?

It’s been three months since the Mogollon Connection debuted in Lower Rim Country. No doubt many of you are surprised to hear that we’ve been in the Payson, Star Valley, Pine, Strawberry, Christopher Creek, Young, and Tonto Basin locales for that long. You would also be surprised at how tough it is to get the word out when our paper is relegated to the bottom of the news stand,  generally just below last week’s copy of Baseball Weekly.

As recently as a few weeks ago, former Payson Mayor Bob Edwards had not yet seen a copy of the paper, despite the fact that he has contributed to it twice.

But we believe we have turned the corner. The word is out, and these days, if you haven’t picked up your copy of the Mogollon Connection by the weekend, it will be tough to find.

It’s a tricky business running a small community newspaper. The decisions about what to leave in and what to leave out are not easily made. There are always many more stories to tell than our limited space allows, to this point at least.

I think we’re on the right track though.

Our competition in this market has certainly taken notice. Their recent features on, among others, solar energy and local Rim Country music talent Candyce, bear witness to the fact that they have indeed taken to reading our paper.

Still, we are proud that our papers are moving off the racks with ever increasing speed. Letters to the editor are coming in, and in my (albeit subjective) opinion, we have reported in a succinct, objective manner on almost everything locally that has really needed to be reported on in the last three months.

I would have liked to have been able provide more information about the potential of an ASU satellite campus coming to Payson, but ASU officials have been somewhat tight-lipped on the subject. The last response I received from a representative from ASU about where negotiations currently stand was:

“The situation has remained unchanged for some time.  There is nothing new to report.”

Not exactly a wealth of information with which to write a story about.

My publisher promises we can have four more pages if just a few more advertisers come on board. That would be ideal; I would love to cover the local sports scene and be able to include all of our columnists every week.

One thing I’ve noticed during this, my first stint as the editor of a newspaper, is how differently various people perceive the editorial slant of the Mogollon Connection.  I’ve already been accused of being “bought and paid for” by a certain faction within the community. That was news to me. To this point, I can assure you, gentle reader, that the only checks I’ve received have been from this paper’s publisher.

But it is difficult. Despite appearances, there are very real divides within the political landscape of both Payson and Star Valley.

The water issue plays a major role of course. The direction that the various agencies that control water rights in Rim Country take truly does matter. Despite claims to the contrary, Rim Country residents will always need to be conscious of how they manage this most precious of resources.

Many of us take water for granted. We turn on the tap, and there it is, a seemingly endless supply. But for developers, town leaders, and business people, it is an extremely important matter. It is a very real limiting factor for growth. A great many people will profit, or fail to profit, depending on how much water eventually is made available to Rim Country.

I have also received some criticism regarding the fact that our letters to the editor have been too one sided from week to week. In the Connection’s defense, I can only say that to date we have printed every letter we have received. If you disagree with what you are reading, please write to us and express an alternative viewpoint. All comments regarding both local and national topics, when articulated within the bounds of good taste, are welcome. Please share your thoughts with us by writing to matthew@mogollonconnection.com.

We are, in every sense of the word a local, community-based paper. We will live and die by the support the community gives us. There is no large corporation in the background to back us up if times get tough.

Many people have expressed to me, as well as to the staff at the Mogollon Connection, that they are happy to have a second newspaper covering events in Rim Country. We hope so. And we hope to be able to do this for as long as the community will have us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

RIM COUNTRY COMMUNITY BRIEFS

(Compiled by the staff of the Mogollon Connection)

Friday, May 21

· “Fundamentals of Weight Loss & Good Health” presented by organic chemist Dee McCaffrey, all day at the East West Exchange Bookstore/Event Center at 100 N. Tonto Street, Suite 102. McCaffrey discovered a link between certain processed foods and obesity when she was in college. She has maintained a 100-pound weight loss for over 17 years and now teaches others how to cook, buy, and eat healthy foods through group classes and individual nutritional counseling. For more information, contact Lisa Semrau at 468-2435.

· “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.

Saturday, May 22

· Third Annual Waterwise seminar from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road, Room 301. Guest speakers include Chris Jones from UA, Dr. Jim Riley from UA, and Marty deMasai from Payson. Xeriscape principles will be discussed at the free educational seminar. Charlie’s brats and Scoops ice cream will be served for a nominal fee. Raffle tickets for a wooden porch swing made by the Payson High School woodworking class under the direction of Richard Alvarez will be available.

· Plan-D Workshop is an all day event at the East West Exchange Bookstore/Event Center, 100 N. Tonto Street, Suite 102. Presenter Dee McCaffrey will provide a comprehensive plan that has helped countless people lose weight and gain health. Registration fee is $125 per person. For more information, contact Lisa Semrau, 468-2435.

· Northern Gila County Historical Society Annual Banquet will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Chaparral Pines Golf Club. The event will commemorate the Dude Fire firefighters. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at the Northern Gila County Museum. There will be raffles and door prizes.

· Childbirth Class – Family Birthing Center will hold class from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $15 per couple (patient and couch) and lunch is included. To sign up, call the OB Department, 472-1226.

Sunday, May 23

Monday, May 24

· 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.

Tuesday, May 25

· Wildlife Rescue seminar presented by Wonders of the Wild and the Humane Society of Central Arizona at 2 p.m. at the Payson Public Library. If you are interested in becoming a wildlife volunteer, attend this special seminar to: find out if you have what it takes to rehabilitate injured or orphaned animals; learn how to immediately care for something that’s been left on your doorstep and how to contact a local rehabilitator; hear about volunteer opportunities at the shelter and with an experienced wildlife rescue rehabilitator. Diane Reid, the shelter’s Capital Campaign Chairwoman will be sharing plans for the Humane Society’s new building project. Mitzi Brabb, a state licensed wildlife rehabber with more than fifteen years of experience will present a slide show about wildlife care and give hands-on pointers with live animals. For more information, call Mitzi, 478-4803.

· Rim Country Toastmasters meet 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 RimcountryTM@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 26

· 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.

Thursday, May 27

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

· “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.

Upcoming Events

· Hellsgate Fire Department Auxiliary “Fireflies” breakfast and rummage sale will be held from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 29 at Fire Station #22 in Tonto Village, 151 Mathew Lane, one mile down Control Road from Highway 260. Serving sausage, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee. Adults, $5 and children 10 years and under, $3. Chorizo burros, $2.

· Chamber Mixer on Thursday, May 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 904 N. Beeline Highway. Featuring ‘From Head to Toe Essentials.’ Adult refreshments, Kiwanis brats, art show, tours of new salon space, raffles and 50/50 drawing. Cost is $3 for chamber members; $5 for all others. Proceeds to benefit the Kiwanis Scholarship fund. RSVP to the chamber, 474-4515.

· Payson Farmer’s Market opens on Saturday, May 29 from 8 a.m. to noon in front of the Sawmill Theatre, 816 S. Beeline Highway. Arizona grown produce and artisan foods of all kinds. You can also meet an herbalist, get a back and shoulder massage or relax with friends and listen to live music while you enjoy a cup of coffee and fresh baked treats. For more information, contact Lorian Roethlein at (928) 468-0961 or www.PaysonFarmersMarket.info.

· Pine Strawberry Arts & Crafts Show will be held on Saturday, May 29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 30 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pine Community Center in Pine. Free admission. For more information, contact Gail Jones, (928) 978-0469.

· Mountain High Days Arts & Crafts will be held on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gila County Court House on the corner of the Beeline Highway and Frontier Street. There will be arts, crafts, merchandise, music and food. Free admission. For more information, contact Dean W. Schlosser, (928) 595-4397.

· Fourth Annual Memorial Weekend Poker Run and Flag Service sponsored by the Vietnam/Legacy Vets Mountain Chapter will be held on Sunday, May 30 and Monday, May 31. The 14-stop Poker Run will have four sign-in locations from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday at Jake’s Corner, Creekside Restaurant in Christopher Creek, Chalet Bar in Strawberry and Buffalo Bar & Grill in Payson. The last stop will be at the Spur Bar in Star Valley by 6 p.m. There will be raffle items, a 50/50 drawing, food, vendors and music by the John Scott Band. The Flag Service will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. There will be a ride at 10 a.m. to the War Memorial at Green Valley Park with a police escort. After flag services to honor and remember fallen soldiers, riders will meet at the Spur Bar in Star Valley for food, vendors and live music by Halos and Horns. For more information, contact Girth at (928) 600-5950 or girthlvmc@yahoo.com.

Blasting continues on 260 east of Star Valley

Road closure Monday and Wednesday at noon

PAYSON – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will close a two-mile segment of Arizona State Route 260 15 miles east of Payson at noon on Monday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 26.

The roadway will be closed for 45 minutes to provide a safe work zone for crews as they conduct blasting operations on a project to widen the highway. Eastbound traffic will be stopped at approximately milepost 265 and westbound traffic will be stopped at approximately milepost 267.

Blasting will continue two or three days per week for the next several months as ADOT works to transform the two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided highway from Little Green Valley to Thompson Draw.

Drivers can expect delays of up to 45 minutes and should allow extra time to reach their destinations. Speed limits are reduced and a width restriction of 10 feet is in place. Message boards, temporary barricades, and signage will guide motorists through the work zone.

ADOT advises drivers to slow down, be alert for workers and heavy equipment, and anticipate delays as construction continues until fall 2011.

Information regarding the project is available on the toll-free project hotline at 1-877-521-1118. Weekly construction e-updates are available at prescottdistrictupdates@azdot.gov.

While ADOT strives to inform the public about planned roadway restrictions, during any construction project there is a possibility that unscheduled closures or restrictions may occur. Drivers are advised to visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1 for the most current information about restrictions statewide.

Mesa del slips to Stage 3, ACC hearing inconclusive

Yes Virginia, we are still in a severe drought

Lest anyone think the wet winter will increase this summer's water supply, Mesa Del Caballo was placed on Stage 3 water use restrictions Thursday, May 20.

In a related development, the results of a hearing before the Arizona Corporation Commission on Tuesday were inconclusive. Water provider Brooke Utilities and the Mesa del Caballo Water Committee were proposing an interim surcharge for water hauling and a revised curtailment tariff.

With those changes on hold at least until June, the existing definitions and resrictions are in effect, to wit:

Stage 3 Definition:

Stage 3 exists when Company's storage level or well production is less than 70 percent but at least 60 percent of capacity for at least 24 hours.

Stage 3 Mandatory Conservation Requirements:

Under Stage 3, Payson Water is required to inform you a mandatory restriction to employ water conservation measures and reduce daily consumption is in effect. Failure to comply will result in disconnection of water service and enforcement fines.

The following uses of water shall be prohibited:

Irrigation of outdoor lawns, trees, shrubs, or any plant life is prohibited
Washing of any vehicle is prohibited
The use of water for dust control or any outdoor cleaning uses is prohibited
The use of drip or misting systems of any kind is prohibited
The filling of any swimming pool, spas, fountains or ornamentals pools is prohibited
The use of construction water is prohibited
Restaurant patrons shall be served water only upon request
Any other water intensive activity is prohibited
The company may not operate standpipe service, install new service lines or meters connections under stage 3 conditions.

Applicable Enforcement Fines

Once notice of mandatory conservation has been provided, the failure of a customer to comply within one (1) business day or two (2) calendar days of receipt of such notice will result in an immediate disconnection of water service pursuant to Arizona Administrative Code R14-2-410(B)(1)(d). The reconnection fee for violation of a Stage 3 curtailment notice shall be:

1st offense: $150.00
2nd offense: $300.00
3rd offense: $600.00

A suggestion.  Mesa del is typically the canary in the coal mine.  If restrictions are in place in Mesa del, they are sure to follow elsewhere this summer.  Be proactive and conserve water.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rising local music talent films video at Rye Bar

Photos by Jeannie R. Herford
Top: Candyce with producer Tyle Perrin.  Bottom: Rye Bar owners Frank and Ede with Candyce.

By Mitzi Brabb
Gazette/Connection Correspondent

By now most Rim Country residents are familiar with the name Candyce, the young rising country music star who hails from Payson. She made her debut in a Nashville recording studio last year, and starred in her first music video last weekend.

Dreams for the down-home girl became a reality last year when a Nashville producer chose Candyce out of 3,000 competitors who submitted demos, all hoping to become the next big thing on the country music scene. Soon Candyce was headed for Tennessee to record her first album, “Kicking up Dust.”

Already making a name for herself with her unique vocal style, Candyce was featured in Country Weekly Magazine last fall as one of the nation’s “up and coming” artists.

“What a thrill to be in my favorite magazine with all my idols!” she exclaimed.

Last weekend the 23-year-old starlet shared part of her dream with other Rim Country residents as she wrapped up her first music video in a local environment.

The project came about when a record label in Los Angeles contacted Candyce with praise for her album, and wanted to see a music video. Everything suddenly fell into place when Tyle Perrin, a producer from Creative Suite 17, flew in from Tulsa, Okla. to begin filming.

Shot in sequence with one of Candyce’s more popular songs, "Somewhere in Between," the first scene took place in a small church in Pine on Friday. By Saturday, the production team had moved to a local ranch, and Sunday they wrapped up at the Rye Bar and Grill.

Although the entire video was filmed in three days, the cast and crew put in long hours. Candyce called the endeavor both hard work, and play. Postproduction, however, will likely include some 80 hours of editing back at the Tulsa studio, with the video set for release in June or July. It will be featured on youtube, a popular internet site, but Perrin hopes to get it in rotation on the Country Music Television network.

Those who participated in the making of the production, including family, friends, fans, and local residents, felt that the unique nature of the video is sure to make it a success.

“When thinking about doing a breakout video, I wanted to do something that described who I am as a person; "Somewhere in Between" was the perfect choice because it really depicts my character,” she explained.

“I’m neither a Barbie Doll nor a redneck.”

“Somewhere in Between” is a fun, upbeat song that Candyce feels can be empowering for women who are caught between two places, or two roles in their lives.

“The song describes how a lot of women feel. Several of my fans have told me that they can really relate to this song,” she said.

Without wanting to give too much away, Candyce described the opening of the video as a scene in which she rides up on a beautiful, white Arabian mare and stops to help a man fix his truck. In other scenes she appears in church or painting her nails on horseback.

The real Candyce also has fun being both a girlie-girl and a young adventurer, who is not afraid to raise a little hell, but can be classy and laid-back as well.

“I can have fun kicking up dust on my ATV, but I clean up real nice,” she says.

And just as her song suggests, she can sip fine wine in a little black dress or be comfortable in jeans and a jersey watching football on Sunday afternoon.

Candyce said she felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Perrin, who let her play a major part in the creative direction the video took.

“It was just such an incredible experience,” she beamed, as she described how her video depicted the various elements of being cute, fun and classy.

“And to realize the detail that goes into making a music video. I have a whole new appreciation for everything that goes into it and of how great of a job everyone did.”

The Rye Bar was the first place that Candyce sang professionally, so it was an obvious choice to film at least part of her first video there. She is appreciative of the start, and the continued support that Frank and Ede, who own the Rye Bar, have given her. She plans to host a video premiere at the Rye Bar when it is released.

Humble to the core, Candyce is grateful to everyone who helped make the production a success, including her mother, photographer Jeannie Herford, and her right-hand man, Ryan Leslie, who attended to all her needs during filming.

She said that she is thrilled to have found a new band that is just the right fit for her vision, goals, and style. With the success of her album, she is jumping in with the band and working on their image, and songs for upcoming shows. Part of the plan is to appear at local and valley scenes, as well as larger venues to promote the video. She also hopes to one day participate in Country Thunder, a festival that features a number of national country western artists every April in Florence, Ariz.

“I want people leaving my shows saying ‘that was amazing,’” Candyce said.

“The thing that is great about coming from a small town is that everyone roots for you. It’s a good feeling to know that you have that support.”

Candyce is hoping that Rim Country residents will continue to support her. One way of doing that will be to watch her video on youtube, and rate it highly, after it premieres this summer.

For more information on how to do that visit her website at www.candycemusic.com or www.myspace.com-candycecountrymusic.