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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Wednesday, May 26


It's Wednesday, May 26. If you missed this morning's lunar eclipse, check out this report from KNAU's Melissa Sevigny — or these photos taken across the country. 

Meanwhile, our top headlines of the morning:

Coconino County, Flagstaff Lift Mask Guidance As Vaccinations Climb

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday lifted a face covering proclamation that was in effect for nearly a year. The new protocol — effective June 1 — comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines allowing vaccinated individuals to forgo a mask in many indoor spaces. An estimated 48.6% of the county has been vaccinated; the county continues to recommend masks for those who have not received the vaccine. 


Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy on Tuesday also announced the city’s own mask mandate will end, beginning today. Both the county and city, however, will continue to mandate masks on public transportation.


Face coverings continue to be mandated both indoors and outdoors on the neighboring Navajo Nation.


More Fire Restrictions Effective As Dry Season Continues

Arizona’s Department of Forestry and Fire management assigned stage one fire restrictions to Coconino County — north of the Grand Canyon — beginning Wednesday at 8 a.m. The mandate restricts campfires outside of designated sites, among other regulations. It follows a slew of fire restrictions that went into effect earlier this month in Flagstaff, Prescott and surrounding national forests.

Sinema, Kelly Call For Commission To Investigate Insurrection

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is publicly supporting a 9/11-style commission to inspect the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It comes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the bipartisan commission. The U.S. Senate is now deliberating the initiative, which is receiving opposition from Sen. Mitch McConnell.


“We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6,” Sinema said Tuesday in a joint statement with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.


A spokesperson for Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly told the Republic he also supports the commission’s establishment.


Navajo Nation Officials Mull Funding Options From American Rescue Plan

Navajo Nation tribal officials say they met with chapter leaders Monday to discuss funding options as President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan continues to allocate money to communities across the country. 


Tribal officials say chapter representatives are presenting plans focusing on water and broadband infrastructure, along with bathroom additions for households and other opportunities. 


“The majority of the priorities received so far are related to infrastructure development related to water, electricity, and roads,” said President Jonathan Nez.


The American Rescue Plan sets aside $20 billion to fund Indigenous tribes, determining specific allocations based on enrollment numbers. The Navajo Nation recently surpassed the Cherokee Nation in population — making the Diné tribe the largest in the country.


Vehicle Fire Quashed In Prescott Valley

A vehicle fire in Prescott Valley was extinguished in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority. Officials say they responded to a pick-up truck immersed in the flames, and that the fire was suppressed, despite having developed near vegetation. No injuries were reported. 


Regional fire managers and experts are warning of dry soil conditions and an active 2021 fire season.


Tuba City Flea Market Reopens As ‘Yellow Phase’ Continues On Navajo Nation

The Tuba City Flea Market will reopen after more than a year of pandemic-inflicted closure, according to Western Navajo Fair Coordinator Mike Sixkiller.

“I’m pretty excited to announce this,” Sixkiller told viewers in a video Tuesday, before outlining social distancing and safety policies.

 Navajo Nation officials last Friday announced flea markets and other temporary vendors can now operate with permits.

Sixkiller says the market is set to open Friday, and that face coverings will be required, in conjunction with the Nation’s continuing mask mandate.

 Tribal health officials say more than 103,000 people on the Nation have been vaccinated against the virus; six new cases were reported Tuesday, along with one recent death.