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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Friday, June 4

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It’s Friday, June 4.  An excessive heat warning is in effect until Saturday evening in the Grand Canyon’s lower elevation areas including Grand Canyon Village and Supai. National Weather Service forecasters are predicting potential highs of 110º at the Phantom Ranch. Some chances for precipitation this afternoon and evening. 

 

Forecasters say wind gusts and lightning are possible today.

 

Vaccination Clinics On Tap For Bellemont, Parks

Vaccination clinics are slated for tomorrow — June 5 — in both Bellemont and Parks west of Flagstaff. Coconino County Health and Human Services will offer doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines tomorrow at Bellemont’s Ponderosa Fire District Station west of Flagstaff. The free event will also include the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 12 and older.

 

Smokejumper Dies After Managing New Mexico Fire

U.S. Forest Service officials say a long-time  firefighter who served the Coconino National Forest has died from injuries sustained while fighting a fire in Hidalgo County, New Mexico. 

 

Tim Hart started his fire management work in Coconino County before serving areas in Oregon, Wyoming, and Montana. He worked recently as a smokejumper — a position that requires firefighters to reach isolated areas, often by parachute, to manage fires. 

 

It comes as fire officials report an active and early fire season across the West. 

 

Listen: KNAU's Ryan Heinsius speaks to True Brown of the Coconino National Forest about regional fire conditions

 

Navajo Transit System Returns, Gets New Funding

The Navajo Nation has received nearly 39 new hybrid buses to bolster public transportation on the reservation, according to tribal officials. 

 

The $6 million grant comes from federal transit officials and the New Mexico Department of Transportation, officials said Thursday. 

 

As vaccination rates continue to rise, the Navajo Transit System is gearing up to resume operations next Monday, June 7. Officials say the reopening comes with limited capacity and that the usual $2.00 fee will be paused amid the pandemic. 

 

The Nation last week received notice that the American Rescue Plan would allocate $1.8 billion dollars to the tribe for COVID-19 relief.

 

Police Confirm Fatal Collision In Flagstaff

A California man has died after a fatal collision occurred Tuesday evening south of Northern Arizona University, according to the Flagstaff Police Department. 

 

An FPD spokesperson says driver Roger Somes was progressing westbound at high speed on University Heights Drive when he strayed from the road and hit a tree.

 

It comes days after a driver struck six cyclists in downtown Flagstaff, killing 29-year-old resident Joanna Wheaton.  Also last week, 28-year-old Stephan Timberlake of Flagstaff died in a vehicle collision when his vehicle struck a tractor trailer. 

 

Police records show general fatal collisions have increased; as of April 2021, two fatal collisions had already been confirmed. No fatal collisions were recorded in 2020.

 

Fares Resume For Northern AZ Public Transit 

Kingman officials say they’ll begin collecting bus fare once again for the city’s public transit system. The community was one of many nationwide to pause fare collection amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

City Manager Ron Foggin says a decrease in cases and heightening of vaccinations is prompting the city’s decision to resume payment starting July 1. Cottonwood Area Transit officials say they’re also preparing to resume fees in July. 

 

The City of Flagstaff also mandated a temporary freeze on bus fare before fees resumed last October. 

 

 

State-Run Vaccination Sites Slated To Close 

Arizona’s state-run vaccination sites are set to close before the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Health Services. ADHS officials say they’re shifting to smaller-scale community-based vaccination efforts. 

 

The mass vaccination sites have inoculated an estimated 868,594 people as of Friday morning. Daily administration rates, however, have sharply declined at the sites since early April. 

 

The closures will apply to the seven state-run vaccine clinics currently in operation, including one at the Northern Arizona University campus. 

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