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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Wednesday, March 31

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Today is March 31 — declared Cesar Chavez Day by former President Barack Obama to commemorate the Arizona-born activist and labor rights organizer. Chavez, who was born near Yuma, co-founded what is now the United Farm Workers of America. Grandson Andres Chavez will discuss his grandfather’s work at a virtual event through Northern Arizona University.

Here are some of KNAU’s top morning headlines:

UK Variant Infects Vaccinated Resident On Navajo Nation

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Navajo Nation health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first case of a COVID-19 variant originally reported in the United Kingdom. Tribal officials say the case was found in the reservation’s western region. The infected individual had already received the COVID-19 vaccine, but was still affected by the variant, according to the Department of Health. Health Director Dr. Jill Jim says the resident was hospitalized but is now recovering. No further spread of the variant was reported. Recent studies cited in Kaiser Health say the U.K. variant could be deadlier than others.

“In this particular case, the severity of the infection for this individual may have been reduced by the vaccine that the person received weeks prior,” Jim said Tuesday.

Deadline Approaches For Indigenous Youth Media Workshop Applications

Northern Arizona University is accepting applications by today, March 31, for the Andy Harvey Indigenous Youth Media Workshop. The annual workshop selects 25 Indigenous high school students living in the Southwest to study multimedia journalism for one week in August. Organizers say they intend to hold the workshop in person, at the NAU main campus, where students can access the university’s newsroom and television studio. In the event that the workshop is virtual, participants can be provided with a hot spot or campus housing for internet access, NAU says.

Coconino County Fair Slated For September, Officials Considering Format 

County officials are searching for vendors as they prepare for the Coconino County Fair later this year. The annual event is scheduled for Labor Day weekend in early September at the Fort Tuthill County Park. County officials say local businesses who apply early will be eligible for a discounted rate. The fair utilized virtual events in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now, county officials say they’re consulting a plan to roll out the event in a virtual, in-person, or hybrid format and expect to make a decision by June. 

Gov. Doug Ducey’s office also announced the Arizona State Fair will be held later in 2021 amid the ongoing pandemic — though the event will be hosted by the Gila River Indian Community on the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority, to provide space for social distancing.

Flagstaff Seeks Public Comments For Carbon Neutrality Plan

Flagstaff officials say they’re seeking public input as the city develops its Carbon Neutrality Plan. The city aims to reach a net-zero emission of greenhouse gas by 2030. A a draft of the plan includes operations for waste management and clean electricity among other components. The plan also proposes that the city invest up to $1 million a year to craft better infrastructure for biking, walkability, and public transit. The city will collect feedback until April 20 and plans to present a final draft to the council May 18.

Sedona Seeks Public Input As City Releases First Climate Action Plan

Meanwhile, local officials in Sedona say they’re still seeking public input on the city’s first climate action plan. The current draft outlines dozens of strategies — including a motion to waive permit fees for solar power projects, and another proposal to invest in a citywide public transit system. The climate action plan also proposes further maintenance of Oak Creek in the event of heavy rainfall. The city will accept online comments until April 12. 

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