Flagstaff, AZ – A wildfire burning near Prescott has forced the closure of State Route 89-A. The highway is closed from the summit of Mingus Mountain north to the scenic vista 1 mile above Jerome. The Arizona Department of Transportation is advising drivers to avoid the area and use State Route 69, State Route 169, Interstate 17 and State Route 260 between Prescott and the Jerome/Cottonwood area. Forest Service officials say the Wood-Chute Fire is burning on Mingus Mountain. So far, it's charred 400 acres.
Flagstaff, AZ – Arizona has been awarded a 54 million dollar federal grant to aid top-performing charter schools and develop new ones. The Arizona Republic reports that the state plans to open nearly 100 new charter schools in the coming years. Arizona charter schools normally receive individual grants by applying directly to the U.S. Department of Education. But, this latest grant came after the federal government invited states to apply and use funds to increase the number of charter schools nationwide. Arizona will disperse the money incrementally.
Flagstaff, AZ – Jailed polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs continues to refuse solid food and remains on a feeding tube at a jail in Kingman. A spokesman for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office says 53 year old Jeffs had been refusing food for weeks and had to receive medical intervention. Yesterday, he reportedly ate a sandwich and an orange, but since then, he's refused to eat anything else. Jail officials began force feeding Jeffs on Friday. He's in jail in Arizona on charges of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men. Jeffs faces similar charges in Utah.
Flagstaff, AZ – The Arizona Game and Fish Department says a record number of bald eagle eggs were laid this year. Officials have counted 77 eggs, 6 more than last year. Of those eggs, 67 were hatched successfully. The state is also celebrating the second-best year on record for the number of fledgling bald eagles that took flight in. Game and Fish authorities say those 47 birds mark an important milestone in the young eagles' chances for survival.
Flagstaff, AZ – More students are headed to Arizona State University through the Maricopa Community College District's transfer-degree program. Education officials say it's one of the top 20 transfer programs in the country. The program is aimed at keeping tuition rates down for students pursuing bachelor degrees. The agreement allows students to transfer to ASU within three years of beginning community college classes. In exchange, ASU will cap those students' tuition increases at five percent.
Flagstaff, AZ – Authorities are trying to determine what caused a plane crash yesterday just south of Flagstaff. The occupants were father and son. The father, who was killed in the crash, has been identified as Robert Remiro. His twenty two year old son, Edward, was badly injured in the crash and is listed in serious condition at Flagstaff Medical Center. Authorities say they received a distress call from the men yesterday afternoon after their plane crashed near Stoneman Lake, about 25 miles south of Flagstaff. Father and son were on their way to Holbrook from Cottonwood.
Flagstaff, AZ – The Arizona Senate has postponed a vote on a budget-balancing plan for the second time this week. As of yesterday, Republican legislative leaders hadn't gathered enough support for the spending plan. The hang-up continues to be a one cent sales tax increase proposed by Governor Jan Brewer. Also working against budget approval was the fact that one third of the Senate was absent from the capitol yesterday. The Senate will reconvene Friday. If the penny sales tax increase is to appear on the November third ballot, the Senate will have to approve a budget plan by Monday.
Flagstaff, AZ – Northern Arizona University President John Haeger is praising Governor Jan Brewer's efforts to secure federal stimulus funds for the state. In a press release issued yesterday, Haeger said NAU's share of the funds is about 23.5 million dollars. He says it will keep the university from enduring any more "Draconian cuts" to its workforce and student programs. Northern Arizona University had faced more than 30 million dollars in budget cuts, which led to some layoffs and cuts to programs and services.
Flagstaff, AZ – Flagstaff plans to launch a new court to help break the cycle of repeat arrests among the homeless. Advocates for the homeless estimate that about one hundred misdemeanor arrests in Flagstaff each month involve individuals who could - potentially - be steered to the proposed homeless court. Magistrate Court Administrator Don Jacobson says homeless people are often arrested and re-arrested, thus racking up warrants and court fees and appearances.
Flagstaff, AZ – Firefighters yesterday rescued a man pinned to the edge of an abandoned mine shaft by his overturned Jeep. A spokesman for the Peoria Fire Department says the man became trapped after his vehicle rolled near Lake Pleasant. He was pinned underneath the Jeep for more than two hours while crews worked to rescue him and prevent the mine shaft from caving in. Authorities say the man was driving in an area that had been closed to motorized vehicles for more than a year because of environmental damage caused by off-road vehicles.