KNAU's Morning Rundown: Thursday, July 1
It’s Thursday, July 1.
The U.S Supreme Court this morning upheld certain voting restrictions in Arizona. The court ruled 6-3 that an Ariz. mandate prohibiting individuals from delivering mail-in ballots for others — sometimes referred to as “ballot harvesting” — was not racially discriminatory. The court also ruled that it was not discriminatory to discount votes cast in the wrong precinct. Read more here.
Gov. Doug signed off on the 2022 state budget yesterday. The legislation will cut $1.9 billion dollars in taxes per year. It also introduces a flat income tax of 2.5% for most Arizonans. Read more here.
Rafael Fire Containment Improves
The Rafael Fire has reached 89% containment as it burns at 78,709 acres, according to data from the Bureau and Land Management. Evacuation orders have been lifted for area residents in Sycamore Canyon; Flagstaff communities west of I-17 and south of I-40 remain on “ready” status.
The fire’s Incident Management Team provided updates during a final community meeting Wednesday. Operations Section
Chief Todd Abel says recent rain assisted crews in containing the fire
— though lightning remains a concern. Abel says the IMT sent resources south of the fire near I-17 on the Prescott National Forest Wednesday to assist in containing additional lightning-caused outbreaks.
The Rafael Fire is expected to reach full containment by July 15, per the Bureau of Land management. One structure has been destroyed in the blaze, the IMT reports.
Navajo Police Department Searches For Woman As 2-Year Mark Passes
Navajo Police and the U.S. Department of Justice continue to seek relevant information two years after a Diné nursing assistant went missing. Jamie Lynette Yazzie was last seen June 30, 2019 in Pinon, Ariz.
She was 31 at the time of her disappearance; Yazzie is 5-foot-5 with black hair and brown eyes, 230 pounds and is Native American. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information.
The Navajo Police Department says Yazzie’s last known contact was with a coworker at the Pinon Clinic; police say her vehicle was found less than a mile away from her workplace days after her disappearance.
NPD Seeks Information For Recent Missing Persons
Navajo Police are also seeking information related to the disappearance of Ranelle Rose Bennett. The 33-year-old woman was last seen by her mother on June 15 in Hogback, New Mexico, south of Shiprock. Bennett has black hair and brown eyes, is five-foot-two, and weighs 125 pounds — she has a tattoo of the word “treasten” on her right inner forearm and a tattoo of the letter B behind her left ear.
Police are also searching for Edward Shirley Jr., a 68-year-old man last seen June 30 in Yatahey, New Mexico, north of Gallup. Shirley is 5-foot-7 with brown eyes and weighs 205 pounds; NPD says he has dementia. Shirley was last seen wearing blue jeans, a shirt and blue slippers and could be accompanied by a brown, mid-size dog named Lady. Individuals with relevant information can contact the Window Rock District.
Rains Bring Fire Relief, Flood Risk
Coconino County public works officials report that recent precipitation has raised concerns regarding the Museum Fire burn scar; the county has identified the site of the 2019 fire as an area susceptible to flooding.
Personnel traveled to the area Wednesday to monitor drainage and water levels — no flooding was reported, though a public works representative says runoff occurred. The county says it’s communicating with the National Weather Service to detect further flood risk.