KNAU's Morning Rundown: Friday, March 26
Slick Roads, Snowfall To Continue In High-Elevation Regions
Continuing snowfall is predicted today for higher elevations areas in northern Arizona. National Weather Service forecasters say the bulk of accumulation will fall early this morning, and possibly again between tonight and Saturday morning. Slick driving conditions can be expected this morning, and again this evening into Saturday from Flagstaff eastward. Up to 3 inches of accumulation are projected for Flagstaff, Williams and Tsaile, and up to 8 inches on the North Rim.
Gov. Ducey Drops COVID-19 Restrictions, Local Mask Mandates
Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday announced a sweeping change to COVID-19 restrictions in the state; The latest executive order mandates Arizona's local government to lift their mask mandates. Businesses in the state will be allowed to issue their own requirements regarding face coverings and social distancing. The new measure also allows events of more than 50 people to be held without governmental approval. Ducey says the decision was made as more than 3 million vaccine doses have been administered, and as COVID-19 cases declined. The announcement has garnered a slew of mixed reactions from the public; Will Humble of the Arizona Public Health Association says he expects the loosening of restrictions to delay herd immunity.
Ducey’s order still allows mask mandates to be enforced in government-operated buildings and on public transportation; Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy called an emergency meeting for Friday morning; City Council is slated to discuss the remaining regulations on Tuesday.
Navajo PD Still Searching For Missing 14-Year-Old Dilkon Girl
The Navajo Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing 14-year-old girl. Tribal Tsipai was last seen on March 21 leaving the Navajo Housing Authority in Dilkon. Police say she was wearing a black knee length dress with flower prints, white Nike high-top sneakers, and could be carrying a backpack. Authorities described Tsipai as 5 feet tall, with mid-length black hair and brown eyes. Individuals with information can contact the Navajo Police Department’s Dilkon District; Tsipai’s information has been entered into the National Crime Information Center.
COVID-19 Vaccine Coconino County
Coconino County officials say they’ll be distributing first doses of the Moderna vaccine in Fredonia next Monday — the appointments will be distributed at the Fredonia Senior Center parking lot, though the slots are available for all Fredonia residents 18 and older. Kim Musselman of the Department of Health and Human Services told KNAU this week the county is working to administer vaccines from community hubs as the rollout continues. The county last week opened vaccination eligibility to all individuals 18 and older, also launching a waitlist for residents. More than 35% of the county has received some form of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the county-run data dashboard.
Mohave and Yavapai counties have announced a move to expand vaccine eligibility to all residents 18 and older. Mohave County’s expansion is effective today; Yavapai County's expansion will begin Monday, March 29.
Downwinders Testify In Front of Congress
Individuals in states ranging from Nevada to New Mexico are advocating for federal compensation for what they say are lingering health effects from a plethora of nuclear experiments, the Associated Press reported. Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez were among those who testified to U.S. congressional members on Wednesday. Bishop said she, along with multiple family members, had been diagnosed with cancer, after living near the nuclear experiments. Nez encouraged Congress to extend the Radiation and Exposure Compensation Program — which is slated to expire in 2022. The Nez-Lizer administration estimates 524 abandoned mine sites remain on the Navajo Nation from past uranium operations. U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton also testified, supporting a resolution that would extend the compensation program.