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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Friday, April 23

First Lady Biden Continues Visit On Navajo Nation

First Lady Jill Biden today will visit the Hunters Point Boarding School in St. Michaels near Window Rock. Biden, also a college professor, is slated to meet with students at the school, where remote learning continues amid the pandemic. School officials say they hope to return to in-person learning by the fall, the AP reports. Remote learning has largely been the standard on the Navajo Nation; the Tuba City Unified School District closed in-person learning opportunities earlier this month after a stay-at-home order was reissued reservation-wide. Biden today will also visit a vaccination site at the Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, according to White House officials. Heavy police presence and impacted traffic can be expected today near Window Rock, the Navajo Police Department says.


“Take Back Day” Slated For AZ, Country As Overdose Deaths Rise

In light of National Take Back Day, Hopi Law Enforcement will launch a Take Back Day for unused and unwanted prescription drugs in Kykotsmovi. Tribal officials say participation can be anonymous. Yavapai County will also hold collections tomorrow in Chino Valley, Black Canyon City, Prescott, Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Take Back Day events have been coordinated nationwide for two decades in an effort to reduce substance use disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an uptick in overdose deaths amid the pandemic, with a 55% increase in synthetic opioid deaths between September 2019 and September 2020.


Phoenix FBI Searches For Nursing Assistant Last Seen 2019

The Phoenix FBI office says it’s continuing to search for information pertaining to the case of Jamie Lynette Yazzie. The now 33-year-old woman was last seen on June 30, 2019 in Pinon within the Chinle Agency. Yazzie, a nursing assistant, is described as five feet and five inches tall, at 230 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. The FBI says it’s offering a reward of up to $5,000 for relevant information. The Navajo Police Department has reported Yazzie’s last known contact was with a coworker at the Pinon Clinic; police say her vehiclewas found less than a mile away from her workplace several days after her 2019 disappearance.


Navajo tribal officials noted yesterday that 164 missing Diné persons cases have been recorded between 1951 and 2019.


Vaccine Supply Remains Available, ADHS Says

A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health services says nearly 74,000 vaccine appointments remain available at state vaccination sites next week. ADHS estimates 3,500 appointments remain available for the coming week at the newly launched Northern Region Vaccination Site in Flagstaff; the site at Northern Arizona University began administering doses of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week to individuals 16 and older. The announcement comes as vaccine supply outpaces demand in some states. An estimated 39.1% of the state’s total population has received at least one dose of vaccine so far.


Senate Bill To Expand AZ National Park Sites

Sen. Mark Kelly introduced legislation Thursday to expand or bolster support for four National Park Service units in the state. Kelly’s bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, would add nearly 100 acres owned by the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service near Flagstaff — to expand the Sunset Crater National Monument. Kelly says the expansion will allow greater visitor access to the area. A coinciding bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Rep. Tom O’Halleran.


Fuelwood Available As Fire Season Nears 

Prescott National Forest officials say firewood for fuel can be collected in two areas near Prescott as efforts continue to reduce wildfire risk in the area. Fuelwood collection will be permitted in a nearly 600-acre area southwest of Prescott, and a similarly sized area southeast of Prescott. Fuelwood permits must be obtained, according to the Prescott National Forest. The announcement comes as Arizona fire officials brace for a potentially active fire season and continuing drought statewide.

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