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Morning Rundown: Thursday, July 8


It’s Thursday, July 8. The National Weather Service will extend an Excessive Heat Warning to lower elevations of Yavapai County — including the Verde Valley and Black Canyon City — on Friday and Saturday. An Excessive Heat Warning is already in effect for lower elevations in the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon along with Mohave County. 


Ducey Appoints New Supreme Court Justice

Governor Doug Ducey has appointed Kathryn Hatchett King to the Arizona Supreme Court. Ducey appointed King in 2020 to serve on the Arizona Board of Regents. She previously worked for the private practice Snell and Wilmer LLP, a Phoenix-based business law firm. King also served as Deputy General Counsel for Ducey in the early years of his term.


Guidelines Released For Navajo Nation Reopening

Navajo Nation officials released new public health guidelines and regulations Wednesday, allowing businesses — including restaurants and casinos — to reopen at 50% maximum capacity. President Jonathan Nez on Tuesday signed off on legislation allowing tribal roads to reopen to visitors; he says tribal parks can reopen to the public as early as today with limited capacity.


The Navajo Department of Health also released guidelines for youth summer programs and in-person education after months of remote learning on the reservation, requiring schools to submit a plan to the Department of Diné Education before reopening. The tribe reported eight new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and no recent deaths for a third consecutive day.


Death Of Chinle Woman On Military Base To Be Investigated

Flags on the Navajo Nation will fly at half-staff tomorrow to commemorate U.S. Army Private Marriah Pouncey. The 20-year-old Diné woman died late last month at the Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas. Pouncey’s death remains under investigation. 


Pouncey was born in Chinle and graduated from Chinle High School before joining the military; a service and private burial will be held this weekend.


Reopenings Continue For Public AZ Lands

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management will reopen state trust lands Friday at 8 a.m. in all 15 counties. Stage II fire restrictions will remain effective for state lands within Coconino, Yavapai, Mohave, Apache and Navajo counties among others. Meanwhile the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott, Tonto and Apache Sitgreaves national forests have reopened as area fires reach further containment. The Backbone Fire west of Pine and Strawberry has reached 98% containment while the Rafael Fire southwest of Flagstaff is 95% contained. 


The Tiger Fire northwest of Black Canyon City reached 29% containment as of this morning as it burns at 13,175 acres. Crown King remains on “set” status for potential evacuation, and a section of the Prescott National Forest remains closed to the public. 


Public Transit Shifts On Tap For Cottonwood, Sedona, Flagstaff

A new public transit service will open next Monday for Cottonwood and Sedona commuters. City officials say the Verde Shuttle will transport individuals between Cottonwood and Sedona, and connect with existing transit in Clarkdale and the Verde Village. The new system, Cottonwood officials say, was in part designed for hospitality workers commuting to, from and within Sedona. Flagstaff’s Mountain Line public transit system, meanwhile, is asking for public input as it designs a regional update; a new plan is expected to be solidified by winter of 2021.

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