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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Detour Monday on AZ260 east of Star Valley

Traffic to move onto temporary roadway Tuesday morning

PRESCOTT – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will pave a temporary detour on Arizona State Route 260, east of Star Valley from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday (Aug. 2). The detour will be in place while a section of the existing roadway is excavated.

During paving, SR 260 will be restricted to one lane with delays up to 15 minutes. Flaggers and a pilot car will guide vehicles through the work zone in alternating directions. Traffic will be switched to the detour Tuesday morning after the pavement has been striped.

Drivers 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 to widen the two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided highway.

Information about the project is available by calling 1-877-521-1118. Sign up for weekly construction e-updates by sending an e-mail to prescottdistrictupdates@azdot.gov.

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

Summer wildlife presentations continue in Pinetop

Want to learn more about Arizona wildlife? The Arizona Game and Fish Department still has several free programs scheduled in August as part of its summer series of wildlife talks in Pinetop.

The Pinetop presentations are held from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Arizona Game and Fish Department Pinetop regional office at 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd. The remaining topics scheduled are:

Saturday, Aug. 7 – Backyard Birding Basics.
Biologist Dan Groebner will teach bird identification skills using senses of sight and sound. You’ll be able to learn distinguishing characteristics, hear recorded calls, learn about birding websites, software and field guides, learn how to get involved in local birding programs, and view bird mounts up close.

Saturday, Aug. 14 – Wildlife and Development in Northeastern Arizona.
Degradation and loss of habitat is considered the greatest threat facing wildlife today. Biologists Dave Dorum and Dannette Weiss will discuss the challenges ahead of managing our wildlife heritage and wildlife recreational opportunities into the future. Try not to miss this eye-opening discussion.

For more information, contact the department’s Pinetop office at (928) 367-4281.

RANT & RAVE: Reposted on July 31, 2010

(REPOSTED TO REMOVE 3 SPAM COMMENTS.  NON-MEMBER COMMENTS WILL BE MODERATED IN THE FUTURE TO AVOID SPAM.)

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.


I am a Star Valley resident and I became outraged after I read a letter to the editor in the Mogollon Connection and the Rim Country Gazette Blog. It stated that Vern Leis from the Star Valley Water and Sewer Commission has decided to ignore the reports that LFR has authored about the Tower Well. It further states that he wants to fire LFR and hire a local firm to consult Star Valley regarding its water needs and concerns. This same firm has consulted Payson for years. Sounds to me like this is a good deal for Payson and a bad deal for Star Valley. Is Vern just trying to please some Payson officials without considering the consequences to Star Valley? Just maybe Vern should move west to Payson where his best friends Buzz and Kenny live! Bon voyage.

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During the Star Valley Town Council meeting on June 15, Mayor Rappaport stated that he views the IGA as an “act of faith between two towns” and stated that “Payson is gifting Star Valley with many benefits” and that “ Payson is extending a hand of friendship and he does not want to push it away.” Well, Star Valley, let’s look at the many benefits. We get to have Payson tell our town where not to drill a well and how much water we can take from it. We get to have Payson come into Star Valley and drill more wells as long as they don’t compete with their Tower Well. We get to participate in the Blue Ridge acquisition even though we don’t need the surface water and, more important, we can’t afford it. Oh, and we get to “get along”. What’s in it for Star Valley? Bankruptcy and new friends!! Boy, Mr. Rappaport , you sure know a good deal when you see one! Have you forgotten why Star Valley incorporated?

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With all the commotion over an IGA between Payson and Star Valley for Blue Ridge Water, I have to ask the question, does Star Valley really need it? Seems to me that Payson did a safe yield study a few years back on Star Valley and concluded that Star Valley has over 4,000 acre foot of ground water available on an annual basis. I remember them also stating that Star Valley is using less than half that amount and will use slightly more than half that amount after the town has finished growing. So why would Star Valley want to spend any amount of money on something it doesn’t need? Am I missing something?

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Thank you for your honest appraisal of the water situations in Pine-Strawberry, Payson-Star Valley and Mesa del Caballo. Can you believe the Roundup ran a front page headline announcing that Payson had received an inch of rain. Why don’t they look at long-term trends and records. If they did, they would see that an inch of rain doesn’t mean a damn thing in the big scheme of things.

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So now the Roundup won’t carry letters to the editor by anybody associated in any way with the Gazette Blog and the Mogollon Connection. True story, folks. And another blow is struck against freedom of the press. Does this situation remind anybody of Communist Russia? Remember Tass and Pravda, the state newspapers. And look what happened to that system in the end. Truth always wins out.

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So (Roundup Reporter) Pete Aleshire says he is not asking Kenny Evans the tough questions about his $500 million investors because the Roundup is not an investigative newspaper. What a bunch of bull. In the old days, when the Roundup had a real editor, the tough questions were asked.

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What a mess the (Pine Strawberry Water Improvement) District (PSWID) is in. So, tell me, what is the difference between the District investing public money in a private enterprise (District’s investment in Hardscastle's K2 project) and the District's investment in a private well owner (Pugel). Same thing. Unacceptable then, but fine now. Isn't that what the District's board recall was all about?

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How much more obvious could it be. There are no professionals working at the District. None want to be associated with the District. Haney's resignation should make that very clear. We members of the District are now in serious trouble and we have only slightly more than one year to replace interim bank financing with permanent, less expensive financing. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do now? Do you have any idea how the Board resignations appear to a prospective financier? Yes, we're in trouble and no good direction out of the current mess. Compass Bank must be nervous. We now have property in this area that is very much in jeopardy. Tommie Martin's now infamous claim - "we have water" - couldn't be further from the truth. We don't even have a functioning District!

Slot limit at Roosevelt Lake might be removed

Photo of Roosevelt Lake by Jim Keyworth

95 percent of anglers now catch and release

A proposal to remove the slot limit at Roosevelt Lake will be considered by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at its Aug. 6-7 meeting in Phoenix.

The commission will be considering a department recommendation to remove the slot limit, in part because most anglers now practice catch-and-release, but also because this popular lake in the Tonto Basin is experiencing tremendous productivity.

When the slot limit was first initiated in 1990, the catch rates were down to .12-bass per hour, which is normally considered poor fishing. At that time, a significant percentage of anglers strived to catch their limit, not limit their catch; at that time, 51 percent of anglers caught and kept their fish. The objective of the slot limit was to increase the catch rates on bass and also increase the average size of bass.

Now through intensive sampling, biologists have determined that the bass population is healthy, reproduction is good, size classes are well balanced, and bass grow-outs are superb.

In addition, creel surveys show that less than 7 percent of anglers are actually harvesting bass at Roosevelt. That means 95 percent of the anglers are practicing catch-and-release.

“Socially, the angling public has changed. The current day angler is more conservation and recreation oriented, not consumption oriented. Most limit their catch rather than catching their limit. It’s a healthy trend for our fishery resources,” says Chris Cantrell, the Mesa regional fisheries program manager.

Cantrell explained that when there are low harvest rates, protective slot limits do little to affect fish population structures and become irrelevant.

“What this really means is that at Roosevelt, the slot limit is no longer accomplishing its original intent,” says Cantrell. “It is time to remove the slot limit here. Then we will continue to evaluate the fishery.”
The commission meetings start at 8 a.m. on both days at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters located on 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix (just 1.5 miles west of Interstate 17).

The Roosevelt slot issue is coming before the commission during the Saturday, Aug. 7 portion of the meeting. Other agenda items for the Saturday portion of the commission meeting include:

Program updates and briefings on shooting ranges and shooting sports activities; information and education efforts; and wildlife recreation activities.

Request for approval to complete negotiations for the acquisition of Horseshoe Ranch in Yavapai County.

The commission may vote to take action or provide the department with direction on the agenda items.

The public has three options for viewing the meeting: (1) Attend the meeting in person in Phoenix; (2) View it via video stream at one of five Game and Fish regional offices (Note: The Flagstaff office is temporarily unavailable for viewing the meeting due to office construction); (3) View it over the Web at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam.

Those wishing to submit “blue slips” to present oral comment during the meeting must do so either in person at the Phoenix meeting or at one of the five Game and Fish regional offices showing the video stream.

The Friday, Aug. 6 portion of the meeting begins with an executive session at 8 a.m., followed by the public meeting. Among the items on Friday’s agenda are:

Program updates or briefings on state and federal legislation; lands and habitat; law enforcement; nongame subprogram activities; and a special briefing given by the National Wild Turkey Federation on its activities within Arizona.

Hearings on license revocations for violations of Game and Fish codes and civil assessments for the illegal taking and/or possession of wildlife (2 p.m. time certain).

Request for approval of a two-year cooperation with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to translocate Merriam’s turkeys from Arizona to Utah.

For a complete agenda, visit www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam and click on the meeting agenda link.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Reward offered in endangered Mexican wolf killing

Third wolf found dead in region this summer

(July 30, 2010) — The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing an endangered Mexican gray wolf on the Arizona-New Mexico border. This offer adds to existing rewards on this case, bringing the total to about $60,000.

The Case:
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on July 15, a male Mexican gray wolf was found shot to death northeast of Big Lake in Arizona. The wolf was a member of the Hawks Nest Pack and is the third Mexican gray wolf found dead in that region within the last month. A cow was found shot to death in the vicinity of where the wolf was discovered.

“These flippant killings are tragically pushing endangered Mexican gray wolves closer and closer to extinction. We implore anyone with information to come forward,” said Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for working tirelessly to find those responsible for this serious crime.”
On June 18, the alpha male wolf of the Hawks Nest Pack was found dead in the same area. The Humane Society of United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust also have an outstanding reward offer in that case. These two killings leave only an alpha female and yearling female to hunt for the pack’s seven pups.

Mexican gray wolves are highly endangered, and killing one is illegal under the federal Endangered Species Act. Before these animals gained federal protection, they were nearly eradicated from the American Southwest. A recovery program launched by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced captive-bred Mexican gray wolves to their natural range in Arizona and New Mexico. Sadly, poaching has been the leading cause of death for this fragile population of wolves since 1998.

Poaching:
Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally — tens of millions of animals per year — another is killed illegally.

Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poached animals are discovered by law enforcement.

Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.

The HSUS works with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.

The Investigators:
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (928) 339-4232 or Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700. Callers may remain anonymous.

The HSUS works to curb poaching across the country. Visit humanesociety.org/poaching for more information.

Carpino will perform at National Night Out

Local favorites John Carpino and the Hot Cappuccinos will take the stage at Green Valley Park in Payson this Saturday, July 31st at 7 p.m. as part of the National Night Out festivities.

The Hot Cappuccinos play a wide variety of rock, country/rock, Motown, reggae and originals. The line-up for this show includes David Brooks on bass and vocals, Tony Menegon on drums, percussion and vocals, Lu Carpino on keyboard, percussion and vocals and John Carpino guitar, keyboard and vocals.

National Night Out is a unique crime/drug prevention event designed to generate support for local anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

More information is available at www.johncarpino.com.

What could be more nonviolent than quilting?

More unique Fall Semester offerings from Gila Community College – Payson Campus:

Would you like to be able to speak your truth in any situation without being offensive or sounding demanding?

Would you like to be able to hear any message, even if it seems critical, without feeling or reacting defensively?

Would you like to understand why you do the things you do and find ways to do them that are in integrity with your own values?

If any of these ideas sound appealing, join us at Gila Community College on Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1:50 p.m., for 8 weeks: Aug. 28, 2010-Oct. 16, 2010 for a 2 credit course (CSL 298A): The Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication is a process of conflict resolution that is based on mutual regard for self and others. It is a skill that fosters negotiation without sacrifice or compromise, without giving in or giving up, and with the intention that everyone’s needs matter.

These skills are essential for enhancing self-esteem and enriching communication and can be effectively utilized in all types of relationships; family, personal, business, etc.

For further information about Nonviolent Communication, please visit cnvc.org.

Instructor: Donna Steckal, Ph.D.
Office: 928-474-4452, e-mail: Drdonna@gmail.com

To register, contact Gila Community College at 928-468-8039, or stop by the campus at 201 N. Mud Springs Rd., Payson.

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Gila Community College is again offering classes in making wearable art garments for the fall semester. During the 16 week classes, instructor Leslie Peacock will teach a variety of techniques to create one-of-a-kind jackets or vests that will include, but are not limited, to fabric manipulation, piecing, and decorative thread techniques. For further information, interested persons are invited to contact the instructor at 928-468-1866.

The college is also offering a beginning quilting class taught by Marque Jacobs. Students will learn quilting basics and beyond, as well as making 2 quilts.

Registration for all fall classes class is now open. To register, please contact Gila Community College at 928-468-8039, or visit the campus at 201 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo turns ripe 126

Photo by Jim Keyworth
Even if rodeo's not your thing, everyone loves a parade.

Payson, Arizona is where rodeo began. Known since its inception in 1884 as “August Doin's”, the Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo is a world famous event that will celebrate its 126th consecutive year in 2010 on August 20-22.

The first rodeos in Payson were held to provide local ranchers and cowhands a chance to get together and compare their roping skills and cow ponies during the annual “down time” before the big fall roundup. There were only a couple of events in those early rodeos, but it was not long before cowboys from all over the state were showing up to compete in new events like bronc busting, bull riding, and steer roping.

Early Payson rodeos weren't held in fancy arenas. In fact, the original venue was a meadow near the intersection of Main Street and Highway 87/The Beeline. Wagons and later autos created barriers to form the 'arena'.

The “August Doin's” is still held the third weekend in August. Named the country's Best Small Rodeo (according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which sanctions the event), it continues to attract the best of the best from all over the world to compete for substantial prize money.

Rodeo performances start at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday night and at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Sunday is Family Day. Gates open 2 hours prior to the performances. Also part of this year's event is a rodeo dance on both Friday and Saturday night at the historic OxBow Saloon on Main Street where music featuring Rendezvous inside plus another band outside begins at 9 p.m. Doors open at 5p.m.

The festivities include an old-fashioned parade, several rodeo dances, and of course the four rodeo performances themselves. Tickets are available at the gate and at www.ticketforce.com. Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 65+, and $10 for kids 8-12. Come on up for the Rodeo and enjoy some fun in our Cool Mountain Town!

Information: 928-474-9440
www.paysonrimcountry.com

Selection of Luke AFB for F-35 training applauded

Contributed photo of an F-35.

(Phoenix, Ariz. -- July 29, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today commended the selection of Luke Air Force Base as a training base for the next generation of Air Force jets, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"The Air Force's choice of Luke is terrific news for the citizens of Arizona," Goddard said. "Since its opening in 1941, Luke has played a vital role in our nation's security and our state's economy. It has earned its status as one of America's premier air bases. Its choice for the F-35 promises to continue its prominent mission far into the future."

Goddard has been one of the state's strongest advocates for Luke's selection. In addition to making several trips to the Pentagon to promote the base in meetings with senior Defense Department officials, he led the legal fight against residential encroachment that had placed Luke's chance of being chosen in jeopardy.

Luke's bid for the F-35 was significantly enhanced by an agreement Goddard brokered five months ago with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Under the agreement, the county will no longer issue residential building permits in the high noise and accident potential zones near the base.

Controversy over encroachment around Luke goes back to 2004 when the Arizona Legislature passed a law to ensure adequate buffer zones around the state's military bases. All local governments in Maricopa County complied with the law except the county itself, which continued to issue residential building permits near the base.

Goddard issued a legal opinion to the county and followed up with a letter asserting its obligation to protect Luke from further encroachment. When the county did not agree to comply, he filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court asking the judge to require the county to take the steps specified in state law. Though the court ruled in the state's favor on nearly every point in the lawsuit, the county refused to give up its legal challenge until the out-of-court agreement was finally reached in February.

Three new artists featured at Down the Street

Meet them Aug. 6 at big First Friday luau

First Friday on Main Street is Aug.6, but here's a preview of big happenings at Down the Street Art Gallery where they're celebrating the work of three new artists with a luau from 5-8 p.m.

The new artists are Kerry Thompson who paints in oils, "Basket Bob" Gleason, and photographer Amy Anderson.

Photo of Kerry Thompson painting courtesy Down the Street Art Galley.  Below, baskets by "Basket Bob" Gleason.

Thompson has only been able to paint intermittently since college, juggling business and raising a family. He has now reached a time in his life where the will to paint verges on passion.

“I find myself working on multiple pieces at the same time," he said. "Even if my work was never
viewed, I would paint.”

Luckily, Thompson’s work is on display at Down the Street, and he
will be doing a demo of his painting style that evening.

Bob Gleason, endearingly referred to as “Basket Bob,” will be on hand as well, and will be demonstrating how he weaves his intricate, yet functional baskets. Bob relates that when he weaves, the day’s problems, stresses and drama all disappear, and the reed demands his here and now attention.

Also featured will be Amy Anderson. Amy is a local professional photographer who does unique portraits, and sees art everywhere through her camera lens, edited by her unique point of view.

To quote Amy, “My life is beautiful, and my passion is to
capture that beauty in every frame! It’s about finding your own style, taking risks and enjoying it no matter what.”

Amy will be on hand also to answer any questions you may have regarding her intriguing photos.

Put on your Hawaiian shirt and join the artists at Down the Street Art Gallery. Sip some tropical punch while viewing art and the demonstrations./

Down the Street Art Gallery is located at 703 W. Main Street in historic downtown Payson.  Watch the blog for more First Friday on Main Street details in the coming days.

Scott Flake offering financial workshops at GCC

Edward Jones Financial Advisor G. Scott Flake of Payson will host Financial Workshops at the Payson Campus of Gila Community College throughout the month of September.

In these workshops you will learn:
Key features of bonds, stocks, and mutual funds
Steps you can take to prepare for retirement
How insurance can help protect against unexpected life events
Basics of estate planning

You may attend one or as many of the workshops as you wish.

Foundations of Investing, Thursday, September 9, 2010, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Making Sense of Retirement, Thursday, September 16, 2010, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Protecting What’s Important, Thursday, September 23, 2010, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Preparing Your Estate Plan, Thursday, September 30, 2010, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Workshops are held at Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road. A $15 materials fee covers all sessions. Please call Gila Community College at 928-468-8039 to reserve space for this educational financial workshop by 9/01/2010.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PERSPECTIVE on $550 million for a new college

The Roundup is now "reporting" that Payson Mayor Kenny Evans has $550 million pledged for a four-year college -- up from $500 million in the last story, which was up from $70 million before that.

The Roundup says it can't ask Kenny for a list of investors, or to even talk to one of the investors, because it is not an investigative newspaper.

To which we say, "Hogwash." It's a simple question and a simple phone call. It's not investigative reporting.

And to put it in perspective, $550 million is more than the gross domestic product (the value of all goods and services produced within a nation in a given year) of 31 nations, including Grenada, Samoa, the British Virgin Islands, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands.

We're willing to bet anyone a cup of coffee in the new college's student union that Kenny does not have $550 million in pledges. And we challenge the Roundup to do its job for once and verify what Reporter Pete Aleshire is writing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GCC Forums held to involve, inform community

Contributed photo
U.S. Senate candidate Cathy Eden (D) speaks while Lilia Alvarez (representing Randy Parraz (D)), Jerry Joslyn (G), Don Goldwater (representing J.D. Hayworth (R)), and Jim Muhr (representing Jim Deakin (R)) wait their turn.

Gila Community College hosted four candidate forums this past weekend.

The US Senate and US Congress District 1 candidate forums were Friday, July 23. Candidates attending from the US Senate race were Cathy Eden (D), Randy Parraz (D) was represented by Lilia Alvarez, Jerry Joslyn (G), Jim Deakin (R) was represented by Jim Muhr, and J.D. Hayworth (R) was represented by Don Goldwater. US Congress District 1 candidates participating were Russell “Rusty” Bowers (R), Paul Burton (R), Paul Gosar (R), Sydney Hay (R), Joe Jaraczewski (R), Jon Jensen (R), Steve Mehta (R), and Thomas J. Zaleski (R). Friday’s Forum for the Future was well attended with audiences in Globe, San Carlos, and Payson totaling close to 100.

On Saturday, July 24 the Arizona District 5 State Senator and State Representative forums were held. Arizona State Senator District 5 candidate participants were Elaine Bohlmeyer (D) and Bill Konopnicki (R). Candidates attending from the Arizona State Representative District 5 race were Bill Shumway (D), Prescott Winslow (D), Keith Alexander (R), Brenda Barton (R), and Chester Crandell (R). Saturday’s Forums for the Future was also well attended with an audience totaling around 60.

Very positive feedback has been received from the candidates and the audience at all the campuses. Look for cable broadcasts of the forums on CableOne channel 21 in the Globe/Miami area and on channel 62 on NPG Cable in the Payson area soon.

At the Gila Pueblo Campus, Pinal Mountain Foundation for Higher Education hosted a mixer each evening where they sold hamburgers and hot dogs to raise money for their scholarship fund. They estimate that they raised $500 and thank those who purchased food and made donations. For some students, an education isn’t possible without financial help. For more information about PMFHE contact Jerry McCreay at 928.701.3107.

Gila Community College’s objective for hosting the GCC Forums for the Future is twofold. First, much as we hold chamber ensembles, art shows, and poetry readings, it is our desire to involve our students in the political process to broaden their academic experience. Second, we have received great support from the residents of Gila County and this is one way we can provide a service back to them.

The fall semester at Gila Community College begins Aug. 23 and registration is under way. Class schedules are available throughout the community, at all the campuses, and on-line at www.gilaccc.org. Gila Community College is committed to student success.

National Guard veteran Harry Hansen dies at 68

Harry Hansen
1942 - 2010

Harry Hansen, 68, passed away July 23, 2010 in Payson. He was born April 10, 1942 to A. Henry Hansen and Lydia Lund Hansen in Hampton, Iowa.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, daughters, Melissa Gregory of N.C., Vickie Snyder of AK, Debra Ballar of N.Y. and Lisha Flinton, of N.Y., sons, Daniel of Ariz., Mathew of Iowa, Kevin Murdie of N.Y., Tim Murdie of Ariz., Robert Murdie of Ariz., and Chris Murdie of Ariz., sister, Alice Hillis of Iowa, and 32 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Harry was preceded in death by sons, Kenneth Murdie of N.Y. and John Murdie of Ariz.

After High School he entered the Navy and served 3 years. After the service, Harry joined the National Guard (Army). He retired from the National Guard after 23 years of service. He was employed by Tanner Co. which was sold on down the line and when he retired it was Rinker. Harry was an avid member of the American Legion in Payson.

A memorial service will be held at the Hansen home Saturday, July 31 at noon.

First Baptist youth director Michael Hatch dies

Michael Allen Hatch
1974 - 2010

Michael Allen Hatch, born April 23, 1974 in Elko, Nev. passed away on Friday July 23, 2010. Michael graduated from Cactus High School in Glendale, Ariz. in 1993.

He is survived by his two daughters Brooke Nicole Hartman, born September 21, 1995 and Ariel Alexis Hatch, born October 3, 1997. Survivors include his two sisters Tami Scialo and Angie Miller who both reside in Queen Creek, Ariz. Michael is also survived by his parents Pastor Rick Hatch and Caron Hatch who reside in Payson, Ariz.  Michael served as youth director at First Southern Baptist Church in Payson.
Services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday July 29 at First Southern Baptist Church in Payson at the corner of Bonita and Colcord.

Donations can be made to the First Southern Baptist Church Youth Group in Michael’s memory.

Jim Cambier, volunteer who couldn't say no, dies

James Stuart Cambier
1937 - 2010
 
James Stuart "Jim" Cambier, 72, of Payson and Scottsdale, Ariz. passed away unexpectedly on July 20, 2010. Jim was born Oct. 7, 1937 to James S. Cambier and Mary Elizabeth Morehart Cambier in Jackson Heights, Long Island, N.Y.

He attended schools in St. Louis, Mo., and Denver and Pueblo, Colo. and graduated school in San Luis Obisbo, Calif., in 1956. Upon graduation, he entered service with the U.S.A.F. and after an honorable discharge went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration, from which he retired in January, 1993.

He is survived by Mary, his loving wife of 53 years, and also by his brothers, John Mont, Jacob Warren, and William Lynn. Jim also leaves 3 children, Amanda Geroux of Spokane, Wash. and sons, Christopher ( Barbara) of Scottsdale and Michael (Joyce) of Payson and 8 grandchildren, Elena, Mark, Alison, Michael Jr, Jordan, Camille, Leland and Zachary, and honorary grandchild Megan.

Jim was known as a volunteer who could not say no. As an Amateur Radio Operator, he held many offices in Tonto Amateur Radio Association and for several years worked with sixth graders in building radios. He held offices in East Verde Park Homeowner’s Association and East Verde Park Fire District. Jim was active in East Verde Park Firewise, and held several offices with Civil Air Patrol, including Squadron Commander, Communication Officer, and Deputy Cadet Commander of Civil Air Patrol Cadets. Jim also served as an acolyte at St.Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Memorial Services will be held at 11 a.m. on July 30 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1000 N. Easy St., Payson. Open house to follow at the East Verde Park Clubhouse. The family requests any donations be made to one of the following organizations: Civil Air Patrol - Cadet fund, Attn: Capt John Barber, PO Box 2531, Payson, AZ 85547: or St. Paul’s Episcopal Church - Building fund, 1000 N. Easy St., Payson, AZ 85541.

Anne James appearing live at East West Exchange

Photo by Jim Keyworth
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Anne James is appearing live from 7-9 p.m. every Thursday in August at the East West Exchange Coffee House/Bookstore at 100 N. Tonto Street in Payson.  Admission is free.  For more information, call (928) 951-4420.

Macho B endangered species lawsuit dismissed

Above: Contributed photo of Macho B following capture.  Below: photo by Robin Silver

PHOENIX, July 26 — The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Friday agreed to dismiss a federal court suit filed by CBD in 2009 regarding Game and Fish’s endangered species permit.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Marshall reviewed a stipulation for dismissal and issued an order dismissing the lawsuit without prejudice with each party to bear its own costs.

“The Arizona Game and Fish Department has played a prominent role in the conservation of threatened and endangered species in Arizona and has allocated significant resources over the years to the conservation and recovery of federally-listed species,” says Gary Hovatter, deputy director for Game and Fish. “The dismissal of this case will allow us to again focus on those efforts rather than on litigation designed to hinder them.”

The suit filed by the CBD alleged that the Game and Fish Department did not have a permit to carry out activities that might lead to “take” of a jaguar under the Endangered Species Act.

It has been Game and Fish’s position all along, however, that it operated at all times under a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that authorized the “take” of threatened and endangered species, including jaguars, for purposes consistent with wildlife conservation objectives.

The Fish and Wildlife Service affirmed Game and Fish’s position when it reissued its endangered species permit on June 14, and took steps to further clarify the department’s authority to manage threatened and endangered species as authorized by the Endangered Species Act.

Arizona Game and Fish remains under a self-imposed moratorium of any activities that might result in the capture of a jaguar until a more than 15-month-long ongoing federal investigation into the death of the jaguar Macho B is concluded.

A central figure in the Macho B incident, Emil McCain of Patagonia, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on May 14 for unlawfully taking a jaguar in violation of the Endangered Species Act. McCain’s plea agreement detailed how he placed jaguar scat or directed another person to place jaguar scat at snare sites to intentionally capture a jaguar. Macho B was caught in one of those snare sites on Feb. 18, 2009.

Some previous media reports and other accounts about McCain’s guilty plea have incorrectly identified McCain as an Arizona Game and Fish Department employee or state official. As the Department has previously stated, McCain has never been an employee of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and by the time Macho B was initially captured, McCain had no contractual or volunteer relationship with the Department. McCain acknowledged during the change of plea proceeding that he was under no authorization from the Department for the intentional capture of a jaguar.

Mazatzal not among rest areas ADOT is reopening


PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is gradually reopening the rest areas it closed last fall, but Mazatzal Rest Area at the junction of Arizona highways 87 and 188 will remain closed.

ADOT reopened three rest areas along state highways Monday, removing barricades that have been in place since last fall. Sacaton (I-10), southbound Canoa Ranch (I-19) and Ehrenberg (I-10) are now open for travelers.

The northbound side of Canoa Ranch will open later this week, in addition to Meteor Crater (I-40) and San Simon (I-10), as repairs and maintenance issues are finalized. By July 31, five previously closed rest areas will again be in operations.

Four more rest areas are expected to reopen this fall.

Rest areas were temporarily closed last October as a result of the state’s budget crisis, declines in transportation revenues and a need to focus on critical wintertime safety. Those rest areas are now reopening, due to a stabilizing financial situation and through careful planning and budgeting by ADOT.

Once all nine rest areas are reopened, the total number of operational rest areas around the state will be 14. Those rest areas are: Bouse Wash (I-10), Burnt Well (I-10), Canoa Ranch (I-19), Ehrenberg (I-10), Hassayampa (US 60), Haviland (I-40), McGuireville (I-17), Meteor Crater (I-40), Painted Cliffs (I-40), San Simon (I-10), Sacaton (I-10), Sentinel (I-8), Sunset Point (I-17) and Texas Canyon (I-10).

Four additional rest areas – Mazatzal (SR 87 and 188), Mohawk (I-8), Parks (I-40) and Salt River Canyon (US 60) – will remain closed due to serious repair issues.

Each year, Arizona spends about $320,000 per rest area for maintenance, electricity and water services. Funding for these facilities comes from the State Highway Fund, which is comprised of revenue from the state fuel tax and vehicle license tax.

Rest areas are required to be funded from the same ADOT budget source as critical public safety services, like snow removal, roadway maintenance and highway crash response. This budget—ADOT’s operating budget—is the same one that also funds MVD customer service and law enforcement support. It’s a budget that is often severely constrained by a requirement to balance critical needs across the state.

Arizona is pushing for reform at the federal level to change how rest areas are funded nationally. Long-term solutions still need to be considered to keep rest areas open and operational year after year.

ADOT Director John Halikowski says states with younger infrastructure, like Arizona, need changes at the federal level to allow for partnerships to operate rest areas, or privatization. Only states with rest areas in operation before passage of the 1956 Interstate Highway Act are eligible to privatize, outsource or engage in public-private partnerships for rest areas. Arizona has none of those options, and unlike East Coast states, has long stretches of open highway, some with few driver services.

Arizona continues to work toward a program to join forces with appropriate businesses adjoining highways to designate existing establishments as state-certified rest areas. Our state also continues to work with its Congressional delegation and other states to seek changes in federal law to allow for alternative funding strategies and the flexibility to use federal highway funds to support rest areas.

Monday, July 26, 2010

GCC Payson Campus fall offerings are diverse

The following is a compilation of recent press releases from Gila Community College about courses being offered at the Payson Campus in the fall semester beginning Aug. 23:

This Fall, Gila Community College is offering the following courses which lead to an Associate of Arts degree in Art.

ART 101 Fundamentals of Design
ART 111 Drawing
ART 133 World Art I
ART 147 Beginning Oil Painting I
ART 161 Beginning Ceramics I

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Prepare for a new career at GCC.

Gila Community College offers a Medical Assistant Certificate of Proficiency that you may finish in as little as one year.

This program prepares you for an entry-level position as a medical assistant. Emphasis is on preparation to perform both clerical and clinical duties in a medical office.

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Gila Community College is offering a number of new and stimulating classes for the fall semester beginning in August.

Included is the return of Jim Keyworth’s Creative Writing course (ENG 131), which is only offered once each year.

Students do not have to be accomplished writers. They only need to have a desire to explore and express the stories acquired during their lives.

Many students who have taken the class over the years, some two or three times, liken it to an art class – an opportunity to find out what untapped writing abilities lie within.

The emphasis in the Saturday morning class, which meets each week from 9 a.m. to noon, is on the story rather than grammar and punctuation. So it doesn’t matter how well you did in high school English.

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GCC will be offering a new Body Conditioning class this Fall.

Instructor Marissa Ward will be offering a total body strength and conditioning class suitable for every fitness level. The class will be held in the large community room, and will use a variety of fitness equipment including dumbbells, steps and rubber tubing for a complete exercise program.

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Just in time for the national election in November, GCC will be offering for the first time POS 110, U. S. National Politics.

The class will be taught by Catherin Hines, Monday evenings, 6-8:50 pm.

The class will examine the principles, structure, and political process of American national government and related problems.

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Gila Community College will be offering 3 Music classes this Fall.

Chamber Ensemble will be offered Thursdays, 7-8:50 pm on the college campus.
World of Music is offered on Fridays, from noon to 2:50 pm, followed by Class Piano from 3-4:50 pm.

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Chi Gong is a new class. This course is an introduction to the movement of ancient Chinese Chi Gong and its philosophy and meditation in movement and preventive medicine. The three styles involve posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus.

HPE 101AZ Thursdays 8-9:50 am


Mixed Martial Arts will be offered again. The student will learn basic skills and stability through mastery of the mixed martial arts.

HPE 101AU Mondays 4:30-6:20 pm

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Gila Community College will be offering Introduction to Criminal Justice, taught by Officer Lorenzo Ortiz.

The course will examine the nature and causes of crime, the criminal law, constitutional safeguards, and the organization and operation of the criminal justice system including the police, courts, and corrections. Covers the history of the criminal justice system, terminology and career opportunities.

AJS 101 Thursdays 6-8:50 pm

Many other classes are available.  You may register now for all Fall Semester classes by going online at www.gilaccc.org, or visit the campus at 201 N. Mud Springs Rd.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Solar future is now at Julia Randall Elementary

Photo by Matt Brabb
PUSD Superintendent Casey O'Brien listens to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at the Julia Randall groundbreaking ceremony.

By Matt Brabb
Mogollon Connection Editor

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer attended a ceremony at Julia Randall Elementary School on Saturday, July 17, to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new solar panel array that will power Payson school district buildings for years to come.

A partnership between APS, the Payson Unified School District, the Town of Payson, and a number of private firms will make the 1.44-megawatt a year system a reality.

“We can capture our abundant sunshine,” Brewer told the assembled crowd. “Arizona can be the national leader - in fact I want us to be the global leader in solar energy. And the Payson Unified School District has shown that we are well on our way.”

She praised the designers for having the foresight to put the collectors where they will provide shade for the children.

“I love to see solar projects bloom,” she said, adding that energy costs were significant for schools, and that the new array would provide 70 percent of the schools’ need for electricity.

The district will not have to pay any capital expenses for the project, and it will own the system outright after 15 years. The project will utilize Arizona companies and workers, and will operate with private investment capital.

APS will also help to fund the project. They have pledged $100,000 annually for the project.

“APS is a critical partner in the process,” Superintendent Casey O’Brien told the crowd.

Mike Cole, a spokesperson for APS said, “Solar power is no longer a dream of the future, but a reality of today.”

He added that APS predicts a 50 percent increase in energy derived from solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

To put in perspective how much the production of 1.44 MW per year of power is, a list of equivalences of energy derived via fossil fuels for one year was distributed. A few examples were:

· Reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 332 passenger vehicles.
· Reduction of CO2 emissions from 195,386 gallons of gasoline consumed.
· Reduction of CO2 emissions from 4,039 barrels of oil consumed.
· Reduction of CO2 emissions from 23.2 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline.
· Reduction of CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 211 homes.
· Carbon sequestered annually by 370 acres of pine or fir forests.
· Reduction of CO2 emissions from 0.0005 coal fired power plants annually.

Firms involved in the design and construction of the project include Kennedy Partners, DLR Group, and Kinney Construction Services.

Mesa del residents invited to 'awning raising'

In the spirit of an old-fashioned barn raising, residents of Mesa del Caballo are invited to an 'awning raising' at the community center this Saturday, July 31, at 7 a.m.

Fortuitously, July 31 is also Last Saturday, which means coffee and donuts will be served. Join your neighbors for the festivities, brought to you by the revitalized El Caballo Club.

'Sorcerer's Apprentice' gentle on nerves of parents

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

By Andy McKinney
Gazette/Connection Film Critic 
This big budget Disney extravaganza reunites the star (Nicholas Cage) the director (John Turteltrab) and the producer (Jerry Bruckeimer) who were responsible for the two “National Treasure” films.  The efforts of these Hollywood heavyweights and the squeaky clean Disney style result in an entertaining family film.  There is not much to brag about here, but it is a solid value for your money and it is something that folks of all ages and interests can enjoy.
           
Cage plays a centuries old wizard with a mission.  He must stay alive long enough to find the successor to Merlin - King Arthur’s Merlin.  Only this successor can ultimately defeat the super evil Morgana Le Fey, now trapped in the “Grim Hold” but not dead. 

He finds the apprentice in New York college student Dave, played by Jay Baruchel.   Jay adds a vaguely East Coast accent to his nerdish, insecure persona that makes him more interesting, and the accent plays very well.  His love interest is the beautiful actress Teresa Palmer.  Both these young actors have plenty of on screen experience behind them and it shows in their solid, believable performances. 
           
The special effects are lavish and very well done, especially the flying beast - of which I will say no more.  But this is a movie about a young man assuming the mantle of the long gone Merlin, not an excuse for excessive pyrotechnics.  The people are realistic (a realistic wizard?) and dominate the film, not the computer aided effects.
           
We in the audience get nearly two hours of satisfying big screen entertainment.  The PG rated film is gentle on the nerves of parents with no sexy stuff or bad language - or blood and guts for that matter.  There is a tasty homage to the Mickey Mouse animated film of the same name.  In true Disney tradition, there is a fairy book style happy ending.
           
Bruckeimer, Turtletrab and Cage together made the magical, wonderful “National Treasure.”  “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is about as good as the not quite as wonderful “National Treasure 2.”  Even so, the colorful and engaging “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” gets a slightly above average three and a half saw blades.
           
Also opening this week is the very interesting “Inception.”  I would see it for the all star cast alone, never mind that it is the best reviewed film of the year thus far.  Grownups have a genuine choice this week.
           
I hope to see you at the Saw Mill.

GOP hopefuls make case to face Kirkpatrick

Debate photo of Dr. Steve Mehta by Matt Brabb
By Matt Brabb
Mogollon Connection Editor

Eight Republican hopefuls looking to unseat U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick took part in a debate at Payson High School on Saturday. Each was given a chance to make his or her case to GOP county committeemen by answering a series of questions posed by conference attendees.

Republicans seeking Kirkpatrick's 1st Congressional District seat include Bradley Beauchamp of Globe, Rusty Bowers of Superior, Paul Gosar of Flagstaff, Sydney Hay of Munds Park, Joe Jaraczewski of Cottonwood, Jon Jensen of Prescott Valley, Steve Mehta of Show Low and Thomas Zaleski of Sedona.

The candidates were each asked five questions confronting current members of the U.S. Congress. The questions and answers from each candidate are given below.

Question 1: What do you think the chances are for repeal of the healthcare bill, finance reform, and cap and trade?

Gosar: We’re not going to be able to repeal them in the next two years. We could choose to not finance them, but that’s not good enough. We can start to undermine them with a series of small bills.

Mehta: Repeal is unlikely, but that is what needs to happen. Far too much discretion has been given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We just don’t fund it. We need to bring the free market back into health care.

Beauchamp: Simply de-fund it. I read the entire bill, it’s a horror story. De-fund it, and move toward repeal. Tort reform should have been in the bill, and I’m an attorney!

Hay: We need to pass (Arizona) prop 106 so Obamacare can never impact you or your family.

Zaleski: Obamacare will not be repealed until Obama is not the president. We simply de-fund it.

Jaraczewski: When do we go on offense? We don’t have a plan. We need a plan. It’s not one item; you have to send someone to Washington willing to do the right thing.

Bowers: The federal government does not have the power to create a health care system. We have to go back to the document (U.S. Constitution), no matter what we do.

Question 2: What is your stand on immigration and anchor babies? How would you protect the border?

Mehta: It’s frustrating to have to talk about having to close the border. This is one of the things the federal government is actually tasked to do, but they are too busy doing other things. We are the only country that allows for the concept of anchor babies.

Beauchamp: I addressed this issue as a candidate. I have a seven point plan that includes a double fence, more agents, helicopters, and common sense realistic goals. The 14th amendment (giving babies born in the United States citizenship) has been grossly misinterpreted.

Hay: Illegal immigration is illegal. We have the technology, a double fence in San Diego proved it works, what we don’t have is the political will. It is a matter of national defense. Known terrorists have crossed the border, and (illegal immigration) is also an ecological disaster.

Jensen: Partly done, is not done at all. We need to finish the fence. Shoot to kill if you have to. Guys in boot camp should serve six months on the border. Anchor babies? Sorry kids, you’re out until you pay and come in the right way.

Zaleski: Anchor babies? No, they are not citizens. We need to look at Israel. They did it, with multiple layer fences. (Maricopa County Sherriff Joe) Arpaio has 800 terrorists in his jail. I have two clients that are Green Berets who would rather go to Afghanistan than go to the border.

Jaraczewski: We have actually gotten to the point in this country that there are more takers than makers. The time for lawsuits is over.

Bowers: The double fence is a great piece of architecture, until they break through. We need manned patrols, bases along the border, and canine patrols. We need to open up the dialogue about the 14th amendment.

Gosar: I’m tired of rewarding bad behavior. We should reward those who have done it the right way.

Question 3: How would you shine a light on deal-making in Washington? How would you stay in touch with your constituents?

Beauchamp: I would let America know what the deals are. It’s (a congressman’s job) to point that out. I would hold town halls where I would actually show up in person. A lot of people have my cell number. That number is not going to change.

Hay: We need to shed the light of day on what happens in Washington. We need fighters, and term limits. We need to take away the incentives for career politicians to stay. My number won’t change, it’s 928-286-1128.

Jensen: People want trust. They are tired of piggy-backing. Technology makes it easier to stay in touch with constituents. We need to spend time answering their questions.

Zaleski: Respect. There is simply no respect for your views in Washington. I have been active in the formation of the Congressional Freshmen Caucus in the House of Representatives. I’m for term limits. Once I’ve balanced the budget, I’m coming home.

Jaraczewski: One guy is not going to fix this. What you see is what you get; I have the political courage to make changes in Washington. If you want to reach me, I’ll be at Rumsey Park every Saturday while my daughter is playing softball.

Bowers: To shed light on deal-making, you should be able to find foot-notes in every bill passed in Congress. I found exceptions in the Clean Air Act. Who put them in there? I get great ideas to add to legislation by listening to the people.

Gosar: I represent you. It’s time you were heard. I speak two languages, English and Hick. I want (legislative language) that is plain and simple. Let’s use many eyes and make light work.

Mehta: We are a representative democracy. We need to get back to representative government. We do that through communication, and our precinct committeemen.

Question 4: Do you support term limits?

Hay: I was on the committee for prop 107 in 1992. We need a citizen legislature. You go, serve, and come home. An eight year limit seems to work.

Jensen: I’m split right down the middle on this. We need to help Arizona. I’m against it because I think people are educated enough to vote the wrong people out. I think we should trust them.

Zaleski: This is one of the few things I disagreed with Congressman Kolbe about. So many deals are done in Congress. Term limits are a laudable goal, but I don’t see it happening. We’d have to get 2/3 of the members of Congress to fire themselves.

Jaraczewski: I’m in favor of term limits.

Bowers: I supported it in ’92, but I believe we empowered government agencies. They would say to me ‘you’ll be gone in four years, but we’ll still be here.’ Putting an arbitrary number on it does not solve the problem. The founders said it was up to the people to be vigilant.

Gosar: Think of the unintended consequences. I believe in accountability and responsibility. You won’t have to tell me twice, I’ll get it done.

Mehta: I support them, and here is why- I don’t think the founders saw serving in Congress as a pleasurable experience. The job isn’t supposed to be fun. I think 12 years is a reasonable limit.

Beauchamp: I’m against them. I have a constitutional right to vote for whomever I want to, and no one can take that away from me. Term limits will exacerbate the problem. You don’t need term limits to know that Ann Kirkpatrick is the wrong woman for the job.

Question 5: How well do you know the U.S. Constitution? How important will it be in your decision making as a member of Congress?

Jensen: We need clarity to make sure we are following the constitution. When they bring up health care, the first thing they should do is see if we’re allowed to in the Constitution.

Zaleski: It’s a pretty simple document. I believe in a balanced budget amendment. Our biggest threat is an unconscionable debt. We’ve been asleep.

Jaraczewski: Right is on our side. The Constitution and the Bible is on our side, but we’ve got to start putting up candidates that are electable.

Bowers: God inspired the principles in the Constitution. I would not promote any legislation that is not constitutional. It needs to lead our decisions; it was given by a God who loves us.

Gosar: The Constitution is a template that we need to use to help form our decisions.

Mehta: American exceptionalism is a product and consequence of the Constitution. We’ve gotten away from it. Every law needs to pass the constitutional test.

The Republican primary will be held on August 24.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

RIM COUNTRY COMMUNITY EVENTS

Photo by Jim Keyworth
The Second Annual Awakening Earth Expo will be held at the Pine Community Center in Pine (on Highway 87) on Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, Aug. 8. Enjoy the cooler air beneath the Mogollon Rim and join us in the fun of exploring new ideas to heal our planet and ourselves. Informative booths and talks about sustainable living and conscious commerce, presentations (Qi Gong, yoga and more), storytelling, children’s reading circle, live didgeridoo, flute, acoustic guitar and fiddle, entertainment, healing modalities, food and a festive atmosphere.

(Compiled by the staff of the Mogollon Connection. We appreciate your support for the free newspaper that tells the truth.)

Sunday, July 25

Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness Sunday Celebration at 11 a.m., 107 W. Wade Lane, Suite 2.
Jam Sessions with Junction 87 at the Buffalo Bar & Grill, 311 S. Beeline Highway, every Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.

Monday, July 26
Last day to register to vote for Tuesday, Aug. 24 primary election. Note: if you have changed your mailing address from an HC Box address to a regular address, you need to re-register to vote.

The Rim Country Republican Club will meet at Tiny's Restaurant, 600 E. Highway 260 at 11 a.m. for lunch and social. Meeting begins at 11:30 a.m. Speakers will be J.D. Hayworth, candidate for US Senate, Bradley Beauchamp and Rusty Bowers, candidates for CD1 and Andrew Thomas, candidate for AZ Attorney General. All are welcome.

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, July 27

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 RimcountryTM@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 28
.
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.

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.

Thursday, July 29

Summer Reading Program at the Payson Public Library every Thursday in June at 9:30 a.m. Bounces, ticklers, brain play, lullabies and stories for ages six months to three years.

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

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.

Payson Raconteurs writers group meets each Thursday 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 Carole Mathewson, 474-0753.

Payson Tea Party Regular Meeting at Famous Sam’s 6 to 7:30 p.m. Guest speakers will be Rusty Bower, Candidate for US House CD1 and Colt White, Candidate for Constable.

Friday, July 30

“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, July 31

Payson Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to noon in front of the Sawmill Theatre, 816 S. Beeline Highway, in front of the Sawmill Theater and behind Chili’s. There is a bounty of fresh picked produce and a large variety of artisan foods. Two resident chefs will demonstrate, at 9:30 and 11 a.m., how to create great appetizers. For more information, contact Lorian at 468-0961 or http://www.paysonfarmersmarket.info/.

Special Bingo Charity Session on Saturday, July 31 at the Payson Elks Lodge, 1206 N. Beeline Highway, in conjunction with the Social Welfare Charity Golf Tournament. Ticket sales at 8 a.m.; bingo session at 9 a.m. All proceeds to benefit the Arizona Elks Association Social Welfare Committee for the Cloth-a-Child and community grant programs.

National Night Out - Family Fun Day on Saturday, July 31 from noon to 8 p.m. at Green Valley Park. The Payson Police Department will host a day of family fun, including free activities for children and adults such as jousting, a climbing wall, water slide, water tag, bounce house, and live entertainment

The Starlighters performs at Tiny's Restaurant on 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.

Upcoming Events

Chamber mixer at Payson Curves on Wednesday, July 28 at 5:30 p.m. Susan Labonte, owner of Rim Country Wireless, is the new owner of Curves located at the east end of the Bashas’ shopping center. Mixer includes snacks, beverages, tours of the location, door prizes and networking, networking, networking. This is a chance to learn about the new and revised Curves programs, new management and business hours. Admission is $3 per chamber member and $5 for all others. RSVP to the Chamber at 474-4515.
Payson Elks Arts Crafts Hobbies Night on Thursday, July 29 from 4 to 7 p.m. at 200 E. Rancho Road in Payson. Features arts and crafts by Elks Lodge members. Free admission. For more details, call Russ Stewart, 474-9712.

Rim Country Briefs

Safe Haven Child Development Center open enrollment
Safe Haven Child Development Center is now holding open enrollment for preschool and pre-kindergarten classes. A kindergarten extension program will also be offered. Classes begin Monday, July 26. The center is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center also provides the "Lighthouse Club" for school-age children for after-school and during all school breaks. For more information, visit the school located inside the First Church of the Nazarene, 200 E. Tyler Parkway or call, 468-6924.

Second Annual Awakening Earth Expo at the Pine Community Center in Pine (on Highway 87) on Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, Aug. 8. Enjoy the cooler air beneath the Mogollon Rim and join us in the fun of exploring new ideas to heal our planet and ourselves. Informative booths and talks about sustainable living and conscious commerce, presentations (Qi Gong, yoga and more), storytelling, children’s reading circle, live didgeridoo, flute, acoustic guitar and fiddle, entertainment, healing modalities, food and a festive atmosphere.

Land exchange moves forward despite objections

Payson Town Council meeting well attended

By Matt Brabb
Mogollon Connection Editor

The Payson Town Council took the first step to rezone land that was included in the Montezuma Castle Land Exchange, completed in 2008. The area, some 220 acres, is located west of the airport, on either side of Airport Road.

The council conducted a first reading and public hearing on the matter Thursday. If the measure is eventually passed, approximately 120 acres will be zoned for mostly low and medium density residential use, though 15 acres will be zoned for multi-family development. Most of the remaining acreage will be zoned for commercial or industrial use.

The council made a number of changes to the plan during the meeting, mostly based on input from members of the public. One modification was an agreement to monitor traffic in the area for two years rather than one to identify changes needed in infrastructure based on new development. They also added several traffic calming methods including narrowing roads to 24 feet, installing landscape islands and using stamped concrete within a proposed traffic circle, and for periodic rumble strips.

The meeting was well attended and several residents spoke to the council during the public hearing. Most were in favor of the change, with a few reservations, though the sentiment in favor of the measure was not unanimous.

Though generally in favor of the zoning changes, resident Don Evans brought up concerns about a scenic overlook that is included in the plan. He conceded that the overlook would be nice, but that “kid stuff, party stuff could be a problem.”

“I can see potential problems for houses right below it,” he said.

Another resident, Charlotte Casey, was the most ardent opponent of the ordinance to speak to the council.

“Some people think this is a done deal,” she said. “I hope there are other alternatives.”

Casey brought a petition with her that she had attached to a community mailbox for neighbors to sign who were against the measure due to an extension of Vista Road that is part of the proposal.

She said that a number of her neighbors had signed it in a very short amount of time.

“You know what we’re afraid of,” she told the council. “You never put a big busy street through a residential area.”

She predicted the result would be decreased property values, a loss of quality of life, and increases in air, noise and trash pollution.

“Payson is a jewel. Are you going to ruin it?” she asked the council, in closing her remarks.

Resident Dan Kealey told the council that most residents were not opposed to the development, but that he had grave concerns about the Sherwood Drive extension.

“I’m concerned with only one year of traffic monitoring, we might need to monitor it for five years,” he said, alluding to the fact that development in the area would almost certainly not be complete after only one year.

Councilor Ed Blair agreed, and said that it was very important that construction trucks do not use Sherwood.

Resident Jere Jerrell also expressed concern about the Sherwood extension.

“It’s important to control traffic from the beginning. If we had the best of everything we would prefer Sherwood not to go on at all, but that decision was probably made a long time ago,” he said.

Jerrell did however express appreciation to the town’s planning and zoning commission, and said that developers had recognized their input.

The council was amenable to suggestions from the citizens who spoke during the meeting.

“We need to take a look at all of the suggestions we received from the public tonight,” said Councilor Fred Carpenter at the close of the public hearing.

Gracie Lee Haught Memorial Ropin' is August 7-8

Photo by Angie Lucchesi

Steer ropin' teams must throw their rawhide straight and true to rope a calf by the neck then quickly lasso the critter's feet. At the 2010 Gracie Lee Haught Memorial Ropin, held at the Payson Multi Event Center on August 7 and 8, cowboys will get the chance to test their skills for saddles, buckles, rope bags, prize money and applause

The entry fee is $30 per man. Cash only. Entries will be taken Saturday at the Ropin'. Books open at 7:30 a.m. and ropin' begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Enter up to three times per ropin' (pick 1/draw 2 or draw 3).

High money header and heelers will be awarded prizes.

Ropin' cows and calves has always been a part of ranching life and rodeos. Spectators at the annual Gracie Lee Haught Memorial Ropin' have been watching how it is done for the past few years. This is a family friendly event with a dummy ropin' for children.

Entrants, their families, and the public are invited to come and boot scoot at the dinner and dance Saturday evening with food catered by Suzy Q's BBQ beginning at 5 p.m. and music by DJ Johnny from 7 to 11 p.m. The cost is $15 for dinner and dance or $5 dance only. There will be a Calcutta Auction at 7:30 p.m. followed by a Kids' Dummy Ropin' at 8 p.m.

Women's barrel racing will not be a part of the event this year.

The Payson Multi Event Center is located on the West side of Arizona Highway 87 across from the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino in the cool pines of Payson, Arizona.

Proceeds from this fundraiser support GLH programs: assistance to a family for a child's crisis medical bills, child safety program, and car seats for families in need. GLH programs are administered by the Mogollon Health Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Houston Mesa Rd. canary dying a slow death

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Despite the onset of what could be a decent monsoon season, the Rim Country is potentially years away from the end of the current drought. Don't let a couple of rains and the Roundup's growth at any cost articles lull you into a sense of complacency.)

This isn’t something the chamber of commerce or the town’s tourism department or the real estate community or the local pro-growth media is going to want to read, but the recent Fourth of July weekend was not all fun and games for the entire Rim Country.

While most of you were off having a good time, Mesa del Caballo residents sat parched in Stage 3, then Stage 4 conditions, hoping the water police wouldn’t mistake a bucket of water left outside for the dogs as an attempt to water a desiccated tomato plant.

You all know about the canary in the coal mine. Well Mesa del Caballo has replaced Pine as the Rim Country’s early warning system, and this particular canary is dying of thirst.

Here’s how it is for those of us living in Stage 4. When you leave Payson and drive down Houston Mesa Road, you go from lush green to dull yellow/brown in the space of just 1.8 miles. Brooke Utilities sends out regular patrols, and neighbors make jokes about keeping their plants alive by – well, you know.

Folks, we’re closer to Payson than you think. We’re a lot closer than Pine and Strawberry. And you won’t be happy living the way we’re living.

Mesa del residents have tried to do something about the situation – to actually work with Brooke Utilities to forge a system that allows people some choices about how they use what water they have. In return, the community agrees to pay for water that has to be purchased from the Town of Payson and hauled into Mesa del during the dry months.

It’s a model that could be replicated by other communities throughout the West. It’s a model through which citizens take control of their own destiny.

But our best efforts have been frustrated by a non-existent monsoon season in 2009 and more of the same so far in 2010. Combined, the two monsoon seasons have so far generated .5 inches of precipitation. Fifteen to 18 inches would be closer to normal.

Even more exasperating has been an Arizona Corporation Commission that has been sluggish and unresponsive. The agreement between the people and the water company can’t take effect without the ACC’s OK, and the ACC has had a problem finding a spot on its agenda to consider it.

So two months have passed because nothing can happen until the ACC decides it has time to meet on the subject – the two driest months of the year. You would think the commissioners would realize that people’s lives are on hold, but to date all entreaties – by Brooke and Mesa del residents – have failed.

Meanwhile in Payson, Star Valley, and, yes, even Pine and Strawberry, people are merrily watering away. That’s not to say I blame you. Or that I wouldn’t be doing the same darn thing.

After all, your leaders are telling you to go for it. They’re telling you we’ve got plenty of water. That Payson can double in size.

No, I blame the people who don’t want to face the harsh reality – that until we secure Blue Ridge/ C.C. Cragin – until the water is actually flowing down Houston Mesa Road via that pipeline – and, most important, until we see how reliable that source of water turns out to be during what many now believe is a 100-year drought – we have to encourage conservation from everybody.

But instead, water officials in most Rim Country communities have turned on the green light.

In others, people are becoming complacent. I recently talked to a few folks in Gisela who are complaining because they now have, for the first time, conservation stage signs in their community – even though those signs read Stage 1.

I’ve heard the same thing from folks in Star Valley. And yet Star Valley’s leaders are about to sign a water deal with Payson that doesn’t come close to making any sense or solving any problems.

Folks, we are not out of the woods yet – not by a long shot. We need to put pressure on the Payson Town Council to get moving on Blue Ridge. Every day we waste is a day we could be supplementing our precious groundwater.

We need to put pressure on the Star Valley Town Council to live by the LFR hydrology studies it paid good money for.

We need to put pressure on the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District to produce a real source of water instead of paying half a million dollars for a well full of sand without an appraisal, and for giving residents a false sense of security by leaving the system at Stage 1 all summer despite storage tank levels that, according to a reliable source, suggest caution.

We need to put pressure on Brooke Utilities to continue to develop new sources of water and to fix faulty infrastructure – at the same time we encourage Brooke President Robert Hardcastle to use Mesa del as a model to work with residents in the other Rim Country communities Brooke serves.

And we need to let the Arizona Corporation Commission know that we’re important, that we matter, that we want them to serve us – even if it means working a little overtime to hold a hearing. We need to remind them that public servants are supposed to serve the public. Duhhh!

This is about a community – the entire Rim Country – that needs to come to grips with a nagging, festering water problem before, if you will allow me to paraphrase the famous line from “Jaws,” it swims up and bites us on the ass.

Zimmerman Fire in Sierra Anchas at 578 acres

Zimmerman Fire on Tonto National Forest
Roosevelt, Ariz. 7/22/10, 1230 hrs

Fire Name: Zimmerman
Incident Commander: Justin Gabler
Time/Date Started: 7 a.m., July 15
Location: Southeast of Asbestos point in the Sierra Ancha mountains, Tonto Basin Ranger District.
Acres: 578
Cause: Lightning
Terrain: Extreme
Fuels: Intermediate chaparral, pinyon
Contained: 0%
Resources ordered/committed: 13 personnel
2 engines
Estimated Cost to Date: $25,000
Structures threatened: None
Cooperating Agencies: None

Summary: The fire flared up Wednesday following drier conditions. Fire is creeping and smoldering in lighter fuels and has torched some pinyon and juniper trees. Smoke from this fire can be seen from Highway 188 in the Roosevelt Lake area and from Highway 288 near the Salt River. The fire and associated burnout operations continue to affect FR 189 and Trail 124 at the Oak Creek trailhead. Visitors are asked to avoid this area for public and firefighter safety.

For more information, visit the Tonto website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto or call the Pleasant Valley ranger district administrative offices: 928-462-4300. For updated fire information, nationally and statewide: Incident Information System, www.inciweb.org

Thursday, July 22, 2010

PATS Monument Peak Loop Trail hike is Saturday

Photo courtesy Payson Parks & Recreation

Like to hike, but not sure where to go? Join Parks and Recreation hiking instructors for a Payson Area Trails System (PATS) Group-Led Hike on the Monument Peak Loop Trail on Saturday, July 24 starting at 8 a.m.

Participants will meet at the Monument Peak Loop Trailhead, which is approximately 3.3 miles east of Arizona Highway 260 on Granite Dells Road. The hike is three miles long and is easy hiking, with a mostly crushed granite trail surface and only a few inclines. Expect a little seasonal water on the trail.

This is a FREE event to the public. Don’t forget your hiking boots and water! Pre-registration is preferred, but participants can also register the day of the event. Please call the Payson Parks and Recreation Department @ 474-5242 x 358 for more information, or visit www.paysonparks.com.

Viet Nam veteran James Leonard is dead at 67

James Paul Leonard
1942 - 2010


It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of James Paul Leonard of Globe, Ariz. on July 11, 2010. James was born in Denver on Oct. 10, 1942 to Paul John Leonard and Lois Dean Burnett.

James graduated from Evergreen Colorado High in 1961 and joined the Air Force in 1962. He served in Viet Nam where he worked in security training and patrolling dogs. He later worked at the old Gila County jail as jailer. They called him Rusty.

He was a loving and caring husband, son, brother, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his by his loving wife Eilene Leonard of Payson, daughter Jamie Leonard, son James Paul Leonard II, 3 step-sisters, Jacqueline Millard of Payson, Susan Vierk of Cheyenne, Wyo. and Pamela Pelteir of Gisela, Ariz., and 4 step-daughters, Deborah Mock of Snohomish, Wash., Lisa Strand of Basalt, Colo., Darlene Thomas of Phoenix, and Jody Robitson of Globe, 12 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandsons.

To honor James and his Irish heritage, we will be having a Celtic Memorial in September. The family requests any donations be made to the Arizona Heart Foundation, 1910 E. Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016, in James’ name.

Services Saturday morning for Dale Lee Watts

Dale Lee Watts
1949 - 2010

Dale Lee Watts was born October 28, 1949 in Santa Fe, N. M. He went home to be with his Heavenly Father on July 17, 2010 after a brief battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife Cheryl and 4 step-daughters: Lauri (Brian) Jordan, Katie (Jordan) Buford, Amy (Ryan) Nickle and Brittney Leafty. Also surviving are Dale’s mother-in-law and father-in-law Ann and Richard O’Donnal, step-daughters Jessica Gregorovic and Becki Hansen, brother Craig Watts and niece Sonya (Lewis) Bachicha, and their son Santi, niece Kirsten Watts, brother, Glenn Watts, nephew Calvin Watts, and niece Amanda (Jason) Blazer, brother-in-law Richard L. (Carol) O’Donnal and their son Jeff (Margo) O’Donnal, brother-in-law, Darrell (Anita) O’Donnal, nieces Amanda (Rob) Clanin, Lynn Kate O’Donnal and nephew Fletcher O’Donnal. Last but not least are Dale’s special grandchildren: Santino, Sophia, Samantha, Tommy, Danielle, Hayley and Blakeslee; his great-grandson Dominic; and his very best pal in the world—Bella the Dog!

Dale had a great love for life, his family, friends and his church. He was a friend to many who will always think of Dale as kind, helpful and willing to share his time and talents to those in need. He will be truly missed. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 24, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 913 S. Ponderosa, Payson, AZ. A special gathering for family and close friends will be at 9:30 am. Graveside services will be immediately after services, followed by a luncheon at the church.

The family would like to thank the staff of Hospice Compassus of Payson for their kindness and compassion during Dale’s final days. The family suggests that donations be given to Hospice Compassus, 511 S. Mud Springs Rd, Payson, AZ 85541 in Dale’s name.