October marks 20 years since Flagstaff became the First International Dark Sky City. The designation is given to towns and cities that promote and implement ideas for preserving dark skies. The city created the International Dark-Sky Places Program for other areas also embracing sky protections. They include Sedona, Camp Verde, Grand Canyon National Park, Cottonwood, Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon national monuments and Petrified Forest National Park.


Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff will reopen to the public for general admission beginning November 15th. The facility has been closed to visitors throughout the pandemic. Observatory officials say new COVID-19 protocols will be in place to keep guests and staff safe. Guests 12 and older will need to show proof of vaccination, or the results of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of visiting the observatory. Children 2-11 will need to wear masks indoors, as vaccinations have not yet been approved for that age group.

Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun via AP

Jurors hearing the case against a U.S. Air Force airman charged with murder have listened to lengthy testimony from a cellphone expert who mapped the route the airman allegedly took the day a Mennonite woman disappeared. 


Claudio Furlan/AP

Health officials in Coconino County continue to report a high rate of COVID-19 community transmission in their weekly virus update released today.

KNAU | Angela Gervasi

An Arizona law banning mask mandates in public and charter schools is set to officially go into effect next Wednesday, Sept. 29.

It comes as the Arizona Department of Health Services continues to document thousands of daily COVID-19 cases. Yesterday, ADHS reported 74 new deaths related to the virus.

The ban on mask mandates was passed this summer within the state’s annual budget, drawing outcry from public health officials and defiance from some school districts. 

Associated Press | Toby Talbot

An Arizona water and power utility has announced it will partner with a developer of large-scale solar and energy store projects in building a solar plant on private land northwest of Flagstaff.

The Salt River Project said Wednesday that the CO Bar Solar plant will be built by Enlight Renewable Energy Ltd. and construction is expected to start in 2023. The plant is scheduled to be commercially operational in 2024.

Ryan Heinsius / KNAU

Local health officials recently said Flagstaff Medical Center had reached capacity in several departments amid the continued COVID-19 surge. But according to the hospital, it still has plenty of room to treat patients. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Erica Sauder via Associated Press

Sasha Krause was a devout Mennonite woman, often immersed in books, who easily quoted scripture and occasionally taught Sunday school before her body was found in a forest clearing in northern Arizona.

Mark Gooch was raised in a Mennonite community in Wisconsin but rejected the faith and joined the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at a base in metropolitan Phoenix when he was arrested and charged in Krause’s death last year.

KNAU | Angela Gervasi

The Flagstaff City Council will hold a special work session this week to deliberate a possible alternate response care center. 

City officials say the center would provide services for individuals as an alternative to minimize interactions with police and decrease trips to hospital emergency rooms. 

Earlier this month, the City Council discussed a possible allocation of $2.4 million dollars toward programs assisting “alternate care facilities.” 

Angela Gervasi / KNAU

President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for parts of Arizona impacted by flash flooding. It opens up increased federal funding and other assistance for areas hit hard during this year’s monsoon season. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.