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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Monday, May 17

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Evacuations Lifted As Tussock Fire Subsides

The Tussock Fire burning south of Crown King is now 91% contained, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Evacuations have been lifted for nearby communities as 320 personnel work the blaze. 

 

BLM officials say the fire was human caused and remains under investigation. The fire is visible from I-17. Stage one fire restrictions went into effect Friday for the Coconino, Prescott, Kaibab and Tonto national forests.

 

NAU Loosens Some Mask Requirements, Keeps Others

Masks will continue to be a requirement for indoor spaces on campus at Northern Arizona University, but the outdoor mask mandate has been lifted. That’s according to NAU President Rita Cheng.  The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed guidelines last week for fully vaccinated individuals. A university survey with more than 2,000 respondents reports 91.7% of employees are fully vaccinated. 

 

The university confirmed more than 1,400 positive COVID-19 tests between the start and end of the 2021 spring semester. NAU will not update its web page with campus case numbers this summer.

 

Chinle High Wraps Up Drive-Thru Graduation As COVID-19 Regulations Remain

Chinle High School hosted a drive-through graduation ceremony for nearly 200 students Saturday. Vehicles drove up to an outdoor stage, where students received their diplomas. 

 

The ceremony comes after more than a year of remote coursework and sometimes lack of internet access on the Navajo Nation. Outdoor graduation ceremonies are slated for Summit, Coconino and Flagstaff high schools early next month; the events will be live-streamed on Facebook, according to district officials.

 

Flagstaff High School Students To Advocate For Renaming Peaks

A group of Flagstaff High School students is slated to present a case tomorrow for renaming the San Francisco Peaks, according to the city council agenda. Members of the FHS Native American Club will discuss the Indigenous history of the peaks, which are named by several tribes, including the Diné, Apache, Hualapai and Zuni. 

 

Tomorrow’s presentation is set to discuss Agassiz Peak, named for Louis Agassiz — a biologist who promoted polygenism and racist theories that white people were superior to other races. Renaming the San Francisco Peaks would require a vote from the United States Congress.

 

Yavapai County Continues Shift To Smaller-Scale Vaccination Efforts

Yavapai County health officials say doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continue to be available at local clinics, Spectrum Health facilities, and area pharmacies including Safeway and CVS. The county closed larger-scale vaccination sites in Prescott Valley and Cottonwood over the weekend. Nearly 41% of Yavapai County has received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Department of Health Services.

 

Public Transit Fares Return After Pandemic Subsidies 

The city of Cottonwood is considering resuming fare requirements for public transit in July. Cottonwood Area Transit and Verde Shuttle Systems eliminated fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. City officials now say the subsidy could end in July due to diminishing federal funds; they’re asking for public input at a hearing early next month

 

Flagstaff’s Mountain Line public transit system also paused fare collection during the pandemic; fees resumed in October of 2020.

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