KNAU's Morning Rundown: Tuesday, February 23

Feb 23, 2021

Rep. Deb Haaland Faces Confirmation Hearing

Congressional Rep. Deb Haaland is facing a confirmation hearing this morning to lead the nation's Department of the Interior. If confirmed, Haaland would be the first Indigenous person to gain a cabinet leadership position in American history. 

Haaland is a Pueblo of Laguna tribal member and identifies as a 35th generation New Mexican. She previously worked as a tribal administrator and directed services for adults with disabilities. 

As secretary, Haaland would oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs along with waterways, wildlife, and other aspects of federal land. Haaland has expressed opposition to fracking and in 2016 traveled north to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some Republican lawmakers have indicated disapproval of Haaland’s nomination, arguing her platform would jeopardize American jobs.  

Vaccinations To Resume In Coconino, Yavapai Counties

Coconino County officials say a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine has reached the county after severe winter weather in other parts of the country delayed the shipments. County-led vaccinations will resume tomorrow, and officials announced Monday that 200 new appointments had been slated for eligible residents in Coconino County. Officials encouraged individuals to call the county’s COVID-19 information line (928-679-7300) with questions or concerns about rescheduling cancelled appointments.

Appointments will resume in Yavapai County today at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley along with the Verde Valley Christian Church, officials announced. Yavapai Regional Medical Center will resume vaccination appointments tomorrow at the Prescott Gateway Mall. Both the YRMC and Spectrum Health have rescheduled cancelled appointments for later dates.

‘Valentine Sally’ Identified After Nearly 40 Years

Coconino County Sheriff’s officials say they have identified the remains of a girl found near Williams nearly four decades ago. The child was found on Feb. 14, 1982 on Interstate 40; the investigation became known as the “Valentine Sally Case.” 

Officials announced yesterday the body had belonged to 17-year-old Carolyn Eaton from St. Louis, Missouri. The Cococonino County Sheriff's Office says it allocated grant funding through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to conduct a familial DNA investigation. Surviving siblings of Eaton say the teenager had run away from home, according to county officials. The case remains active as a homicide investigation, though authorities say no suspects have been identified. 

NAU Football Begins, Fans Barred From Skydome 

Northern Arizona University says no ticketed fans will be allowed to enter the Walkup Skydome for the approaching 2021 football season. NAU is set to compete with Southern Utah University on the Flagstaff campus Saturday, Feb. 27. It’s one of three home football games scheduled amid the continuing pandemic. University officials are encouraging fans to watch football games virtually.  

NAU’s most recently published data reports 85 active COVID-19 cases on campus. The university’s data dashboard shows 829 documented cases since the start of the semester. Officials estimate between 13% and 14% of students and staff are tested each week.