KNAU's Morning Rundown: Wednesday, June 16

Jun 16, 2021


It’s Wednesday, June 16. 

 

The National Weather Service reported a high of 94 degrees yesterday in Flagstaff, setting a new June 15 record. The previous high was 92 degrees in 1974. An Excessive Heat Warning, meanwhile, remains in effect for lower elevations in northern Arizona, set to lift Friday evening.

Ducey Bans Requirements For Unvaccinated College Students 

Gov. Doug Ducey passed an executive order Tuesday banning public universities and community colleges from mandating face coverings and other requirements for students who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

The policy prohibits mandatory COVID-19 tests at universities — unless there is a “significant COVID-19 outbreak in a shared student housing setting.” Permission for the mandatory tests must be granted by the Arizona Department of Health Services.  Under the order, public higher-education institutions cannot require students to submit vaccine information. 

Ducey issued the order shortly after a letter from Arizona State University expressed testing requirements and mask mandates for unvaccinated students. It also comes as Northern Arizona University prepares for a fully in-person semester the coming fall. NAU during the previous school year had imposed a mask mandate, testing and daily health checks. 

Former Congressional Member Joins Race For Governor 

Former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon has announced his bid for the 2022 gubernatorial election. In a campaign video, Salmon supports second amendment protections, tax cuts, and describes himself as “100% pro-life.”

Salmon represented Arizona’s 1st Congressional District — including Flagstaff and parts of the Navajo Nation — between 1995 and 2001. He later represented parts of Mesa and Gilbert in the 5th District.  In previous years, he opposed the Affordable Care Act and pushed for the 2016 release of Amir Hekmati, a Flagstaff man and U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran.

Kelly Pitches Legislation For Metro Designation

Sen. Mark Kelly introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow Flagstaff to retain its current designation as a Metropolitan Statistical Area.  MSAs include cities with more than 50,000 people. The Office of Management and Budget, however, is considering a measure that would require MSAs to have at least 100,000 residents. The policy change would downgrade Flagstaff, with more than 140 other cities, to a micropolitan category. Kelly says he’s proposing the bill to concerns within communities about losing federal funding opportunities. He pitched the legislation alongside Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.

Ella Mae Begay.
Credit Navajo Police Department

Navajo Police Search For Missing Woman

The Navajo Police Department is seeking relevant information in a search for a 62-year-old woman last seen around Sweetwater, Ariz. Ella Mae Begay is about 5 feet tall, with brown eyes and short light brown hair; police say she could be driving a 2005 silver Ford F-150. The NPD asked for tips to be submitted to the Shiprock District.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Slated For Tusayan

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is on tap tomorrow outside the Grand Canyon IMAX theater in Tusayan. Coconino County officials say they’ll offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to individuals 18 and older, along with the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and older. 

Appointments are not needed at the free clinic. County data last updated June 5 shows nearly 59.6% percent of Grand Canyon area residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus — one of the highest rates in the county.

 

Another clinic is slated today in Flagstaff's Heritage Square. An estimated 45.8% of the city's residents are fully vaccinated.

Chino Valley Cancels July Fourth Event Amid Fire Restrictions

The Town of Chino Valley will cancel a Fourth of July fireworks event in light of fire restrictions and dry conditions across northern Arizona. Mayor Jack Miller said in a statement yesterday the decision was made after consulting with local fire managers. The decision comes as a fire continues to burn in Cornville, and weeks after the Spur Fire prompted hundreds of evacuation orders for Bagdad residents.